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Full text of "Electrotyping; a practical treatise on the art of electrotyping by the latest known methods, containing historical review of the subject, full description of the tools and machinery required, and complete instructions for operating an electrotyping plant"

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The Inland Printer Company. 


Copyright, 1899, 
Copyright, 1908, 

By The Inland Printer Company, Chicago. 



THE art of electrotyping has within recent years made 
material advancement. Labor-saving machinery 
and appliances have simpHfied and at the same time 
insured greater accuracy in the mechanical features of 
the art, while the constant and increasing demand for 
rapid work has been an incentive to invention and 
research, with the result that electrotypes are now pro- 
duced in much less time than was formerly required. 
That the literature of electrotyping, although of great 
value, is hardly up to date, is evidenced by the state- 
ments of Urquhart, Wilson, Langbein and others, to the 
effect that from seven to twenty hours are required to 
deposit shells of practical thickness. While these state- 
ments were, perhaps, correct at the time they were pub- 
lished, they can hardly be considered accurate now, in 
view of the fact that the plate from which this page is 
printed was deposited in fifteen minutes. 

In the following pages, revised from a series of arti- 
cles in The Inlm%d Printer, I have endeavored to 
describe, as clearly and simply as possible, the most 
approved methods of producing electrotypes, with the 
hope that the information may prove of value both to 
the professional and the amateur, 

Chicago, June, 1899. 


THE general favor accorded "Electrotyping-" made 
several printings of the first edition necessary. 
This second edition has been revised and corrected 
to date and much new matter added, an important 
addition being a glossary or reference list of terms, 
processes and apparatus. 


Chicago, December, 1908. 




I. Historical Review . . ... 7 

II. The Battery 18 

III. The Dynamo 25 

IV. The Bath . . . . ' . . 35 
V. Steel, Brass and Nickel Baths ... 41 

VI. Management of Baths 46 

VII. Agitation of Baths 51 

VIII. Measuring Instruments .... 58 

IX. Preparation of Work .... 63 

X. MoLniNG . '67 

XI. Building ' . . . . . . . .78 

XII. Metallizing 83 

XIII. The Conductors 94 

XIV. Depositing 99 

XV. Casting 105 

XVI. Finishing 119 

XVII. Trimming and Routing 127 

XVIII. Revising 136 

XIX. Blocking 143 

XX. Dr. Albert's Metal Molds . . . 150 

Reference List of Terms, Processes and Appa- 
ratus 161 

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in 2007 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 





DURING the period of 1837- 1839, Professor Jacobi, 
of St. Petersburg, Mr. Thomas Spencer, of Liver- 
pool, and Mr. C. J. Jordan, of London, made at differ- 
ent times announcement of their independent discovery 
of the art of electrotyping. According to one author- 
ity the rival claims of Professor Jacobi and Mr. Spencer 
were presented by them in person before the Chemical 
Section of the British Association for the promotion of 
Science, and this august assembly after prolonged dis- 
cussion decided that both had independently arrived at 
the same result, but that the priority of discovery was 
undoubtedly Mr. Spencer's. However, this decision of 
the society with the high-sounding title did not by any 
means settle the controversy, which became still further 
complicated by the later claims of Mr. Jordan, In view 
of the conflicting character of the evidence we are 
inclined to divide the honor between the gentlemen 
named; but whatever merit may attach to their respec- 
tive claims as discoverers, there is probably no question 
but that the credit for the first practical application of 
the new art to the printing business belongs to an Amer- 


ican — Mr. J. A. Adams, of New York, who produced 
successful electrotypes of wood engravings in 1841. It 
is to American inxentive genius, also, that we are in- 
debted for most of the labor-saving methods and machin- 
ery which have brought the art to its present state of 
perfection. In England, electrotyping seems to have 
been first utilized chiefly for the production of metallic 
art work such as engraved medals, statuary, etc. 
Messrs. Elkington & Co. were so successful in this 
branch of the art that in 1845 they had established a 
considerable business in the duplication of cups, vases 
and other articles, deposited entirely in gold, silver and 
copper. While our friends over the water have perhaps 
excelled in this feature of electrotyping, Americans were 
quick to grasp and develop the possibilities of the art 
as applied to printing purposes. In 1863, Mr. William 
Filmer, an electrotyper of New York, who had much 
to do with the early development of electrotyping, after 
an extended trip abroad stated that electrotyping as 
applied to the printing industry was generally recognized 
in Europe as an American art. 

The discovery of electrotyping, like many other 
important discoveries, was purely accidental. Mr. 
Spencer, for instance, was trying some experiments in 
electro-chemistry. He had immersed a copper plate 
in a solution of sulphate of copper and a zinc plate in 
a solution of common salt, connecting them together 
by a wire, and separating the fluids by a partition of 
plaster of paris. In order that no action should take 
place on the wire connecting the plates, he covered it 
with sealing wax, and in so doing, spilled some of the 
wax on the copper plate. After a few days he found 


that copper crystals had covered the copper electrode 
except the portion protected by the drops of wax. It 
at once occurred to him that by the application of wax 
or other non-conducting substance, he could perfectly 
control the deposition of the metal. Mr. Spencer then 
coated a plate of copper with beeswax, and scratched 
his name through the wax on the plate and connected it 
with a zinc plate of corresponding size, immersing them 
in the solutions as before. After a few hours he found, 
as he expected, that the portion of the plate from which 
the wax had been removed was coated with bright 
metal, while the protected portions remained untouched. 

The discovery of electrotyping created hardly less 
interest than the nearly contemporaneous invention of 
the electric telegraph. Scientists, professional men and 
workmen became alike interested, and the copying of 
medals, coins, etc., by electrotyping becarne a popular 
amusement of the time. 

The apparatus employed at this time consisted of a 
single cell, as before described. The back of the coin 
or medal to be copied was first coated with wax or var- 
nish. Copper was then deposited on its face to form a 
matrix, which, after having been removed from the coin 
and properly prepared, was returned to the bath to 
receive in its turn a deposit of copper in the form of 
a facsimile of the original. 

In 1840, Mr. Joseph Murray discovered that non- 
conductive substances could be made conductive by 
applying to them a film of graphite. This was a nota- 
ble step in the progress of the art, for it not only made 
possible the duplication of nonmetallic objects, but 
opened the way for the use of gutta-percha, wax and 


similar substances for molding material in which an 
impression of the coin or other object could be made, 
thereby greatly expediting the work by saving the lime 
required to make a matrix in copper. 

The invention of the separate battery about the 
same time, by Mr. Mason, marked another material 
advancement in the art. 

Mr. Adams made his first electrotype copies of 
wood engravings by depositing copper directly on the 
engraving and using the deposit for a matrix. The 
process was, of course, very crude and invariably 
destroyed the wood engraving, but it was of value as 
an insurance against checking and because the electro- 
type would stand much more wear than the wood cut. 

Mr. J. W. Wilcox, of Boston, Massachusetts, an 
employee of Mr. Daniel Davis, was the originator of 
the methods by which electro^yping was made of prac- 
tical use for the printing business. Mr. Davis had 
produced a few electrotypes, but after the method laid 
down by European experimenters ; and it may be that 
Mr. Wilcox obtained, through his connection with Mr. 
Davis, his first information of the possibility of making 
duplicates by galvanoplasty, yet Mr. Davis did not 
encourage, but, on the contrary, endeavored to dis- 
suade Mr. Wilcox from the notion that something, in 
a business way, could be gotten out of the new art. 
Mr. Wilcox had so much faith in a successful result 
that he resigned his position, that of foreman for Mr. 
Davis, engaged a room and devoted his energies to the 
work. In less than one month thereafter he produced 
electrotypes from cuts and type, without injury to the 
originals, by virtually the same manipulation that is 


now used. His most important discovery was of a 
wax composition in which molds could be readily made 
by pressure. He immediately started in the business of 
making plates for printers' use, and was the first to 
make a business of electrotyping. He showed speci- 
mens of electrotypes in the fifth exhibition of the Mas- 
sachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association (1847), 
and page 42 of the report for that year reads as 
follows : 

2. J. W. Wilcox, Boston. Specimens of Electrotype. 
These specimens are produced, as we think, in a manner 
original with Mr. Wilcox. The originality, consists in making 
the matrix, upon which the copper is deposited, of wax, 
either coated or mingled with plumbago. Previously, matrices 
were usually made of soft metal upon which, in a melted 
state, the original plate was laid and subjected to a smart 
blow, when the melted metal was partially hardened in the 
process of cooling. Objections to this mode are: liability of 
injuring molds or plates made of soft materials and, of 
course, its inapplicability to wood engravings, and the diffi- 
culty of obtaining perfect matrices, since even a small por- 
tion of air beneath the plate might, when the blow is given, 
materially injure the cast. Besides, the old mode is hardly 
practicable, when the plate is of great extent. By the 
method of Mr. Wilcox, matrices of any dimensions can be 
made from a plate or mold of any materials without the 
least injury to the original ; and the liability of failing to 
obtain a good matrix is almost wholly obviated. 

We hence infer that, among other benefits resulting from 
this process, it will be found more economical, and will con- 
tribute much to the beauty and perfection of the impression, 
to use copper plates made from the blocks for wood engra- 
vings, than to use the blocks themselves. Indeed, several of 
the specimens exhibited were of this kind, and impressions 
from them substantiate the opinion of the committee. 

One of the specimens examined was a copper stereotype 


plate for common printing, accompanied by an impression 
from the plate. This suggests to the committee what they 
consider the most important feature of the subject, namely, 
the probability that copper stereotype plates will take the 
place of common type-metal plates. The circumstances to 
warrant this probability are, the greater durability of copper 
plates and the more perfect outline of the letters. That 
copper plates will be more durable does not admit of a 
doubt ; and some practical men express their belief that they 
will last six times as long as type-metal plates. If so, and 
if, as is almost certain, copper is soon to become much 
cheaper than at present, there will be a decided economy in 
using copper plates, and the use of them will contribute very 
materially to the diffusion of knowledge, and, as we trust, to 
the growth of virtue. In addition to this, the impression 
from such a plate will be much more distinct and beautiful, 
inasmuch as a mold in wax will have its lines better defined 
than a similar mold in plaster. — Gold Medal. 

Mr. Davis had an exhibit of magnetical apparatus 
in the same class and year, for which he was awarded 
a gold medal, and it is not likely that the award to Mr. 
Wilcox would have passed unchallenged if not prop- 
erly made. 

Mr. Wilcox continued in business many years to 
his profit, but did not derive as much financial benefit 
from his inventions as he might had he patented them. 
He died in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, February 
19, 1876. 

The following, from a letter recently received from 
Mrs. Wilcox in reply to an inquiry regarding her hus- 
band, shows that Mr. Wilcox did not confine his efforts 
entirely to making printers' plates : 

He perfected the art so well that the Massachusetts 
Charitable Mechanic Association, in 1847, awarded him a 
gold medal for specimen of electrotypes. The American 


Institute of New York awarded him a medal in 1848. He 
turned his attention to making clock dials and steam-gauge 
dials and all kinds of ornamental plates for decorating soda 
fountains and other ornamental work. He invented a proc- 
ess of electrotyping the face of rolls for dressing cloth, and 
received a medal in i860 from the Massachusetts Charitable 
Mechanic Association for the same. 

Mr. Daniel Davis — properly Daniel Davis, Jr. — 
was a prominent manufacturer of philosophical instru- 
ments, in Boston. In 1842 he published " Davis' Man- 
ual of Magnetism," in which the process of electro- 
metallurgy was mentioned, and there appeared a cut 
and an electrotype duplicate of the same. In the sixth 
edition, published in 1847, there is a frontispiece — 
two pages — one of which was printed from an origi- 
nal engraving, on copper, and the other from an elec- 
trotype duplicate made by depositing on the original 
for a matrix, and by depositing on the matrix to make 
the plate printed from. At the bottom of the page it 
is stated that that duplicate was made by Mr. Davis. 
Page 53 of that edition was printed from an electro- 
type made by Mr. Wilcox. The seventh edition of 
Davis' Manual, issued in 1848, contains the following 
regarding the electrotype process : 

An engraved copper plate may be copied by taking an 
impression on clean and bright sheet lead with a powerful 
press, or if the plate is small it may be pressed by hand on 
the melted fusible metal. Or a mold may be made by depos- 
iting copper on the plate itself, but care must be taken to 
prevent adhesion both of the mold to the original and of the 
copy to the mold. The duplicate thus obtained will furnish 
engravings which can not be distinguished from those printed 
from the original plate, however elaborate the design and 
delicate the workmanship may be. 


An engraving printed from an electrotype plate by this 
method is given as a frontispiece to the 1842 manual. 

A medal or engraved plate is placed in the solution and 
copper deposited upon it. The negative wire of the battery 
should be connected with the rim of the medal, and in case 
of an engraved plate it may be soldered to the corners. The 
deposit is apt to adhere very firmly, sometimes so much so 
that its removal is impossible. This may be avoided by 
slightly greasing or oiling the mold and then brushing it 
over with a little dry copper bronze. 

The mold thus obtained may have a wire soldered to it 
and be placed in the solution like the original one. In most 
cases it will be considered safer to take a mold of a valuable 
medal or plate in soft wax or by some of the other processes 
to be described. An engraving printed from an electrotype 
plate obtained by this process is given as a specimen in the 
1847 manual. 

In the same edition there is the following notice: 

This book is believed to be the first ever electro-stereo- 
typed throughout. A single page (the 53d) of " Davis' Man- 
ual of Magnetism," published in August, 1847, was previously 
electrotyped by the subscriber in the same manner. The 
advantages of this process are : First, its durability, the 
copper face of the type and illustrations lasting many times 
longer than the type-metal; and second, the blackness of the 
impression taken from copper. 

I am prepared to execute any orders for printed work in 
the above style, of which the present book is an example, and 
to execute any number of facsimiles of engraved copper 
plates and of whatever size. The face of each electrotype 
copy is harder and more durable than the rolled copper. 

I am also prepared to execute plates of electrotype copper 
for engraving of greater purity and uniformity than can 
otherwise be prepared. 

I have, within two years, electrotyped a large number of 
wood cuts, many of which have been in constant use and 


which have answered every expectation as to their durability 
and the perfect character of the impression.^ 

The report of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic 
Association, taking the lowest estimate, assigns to these a 
durability six times greater than that of the type-metal stereo- 
types. The slight additional expense of the electro-stereo- 
types is therefore in no proportion to their comparative value. 

Ornamental work and every branch of the art of electro- 
typing will receive the attention of the subscriber. 

J. W. Wilcox. 

In 1853, an improvement in the Smee battery was 
suggested by Mr. Adams, and immediately adopted by 
electrotypers in America and Europe. Other improve- 
ments of a more or less important nature were made 
by Mr. Adams, Mr. Wilcox, Mr. Filmer and others, 
and by 1858-59 the electrotyping business may be said 
to have become established on a practical basis ; so 
much so that the process was quite generally employed 
for the reproduction of wood cuts. 

In the meantime electricians had been busy with 
the problem of producing a continuous current of elec- 
tricity by mechanical means which could be substi- 
tuted for the battery. Machines more or less useful 
for this purpose were constructed by Dr. W. Siemens, 
of Berlin, in 1857. Between i860 and 1870, Gramme, 
Schuckert, Weston, Brush, and Wilde, brought out 
improvements of more or less value. The Wilde 
machines were the first to be used to any extent for 
electrotyping, and were first adopted, about 1872, by 
Frank Leslie and Lovejoy, Son & Co., of New York 
City. They accomplished a revolution in the art by 
reducing the time required to deposit a shell to about 
three hours. Invaluable as these first machines were 


to the electrotyping trade, they soon gave place to 
improved types, until at the present time it is possible 
to produce an electrotype shell thick enough for ordi- 
nary purposes in one hour or less. 

Improvements in molding, blackleading and finish- 
ing machinery have kept pace with the advancing 
methods of electrotyping proper. In 1855, Mr. J. A. 
Adams invented a blackleading machine with a vibrat- 
ing brush and traveling carriage. In 1856, Mr. Filmer 
patented a method of backing electrotype shells, by 
means of which the shell was held down by springs 
during the operation of casting. In 1858, Mr. S. P. 
Knight invented an improvement in the preparation of 
electrotype molds for the bath which was of great 
value to the trade and is universally employed at the 
present time. His invention consisted in precipitating 
a thin film of copper on the mold previous to immers- 
ing it in the bath. This is accomplished by flooding 
the mold with a solution of sulphate of copper and then 
dusting iron filings over it. The effect of the operation 
is to cause the deposition of copper to begin immedi- 
ately over the entire surface, instead of beginning only 
at the points of contact and spreading slowly there- 
from to other portions of the mold. Mr. Knight also 
invented, in 1871, a process for applying blacklead to 
the molds in the form of a solution, distributing it 
over the face of the mold by means of a traveling rose 

Many other improvements of a minor nature, which 
we have not space to describe, have been made from 
time to time, and the art of electrotyping may be said 
to be now in a high state of perfection. 


In 1857, Alfred Smee made the remark that " elec- 
trotyping is likely to be useful for the Bible, Shakes- 
peare, ' Pilgrim's Progress,' or works that have a large 
circulation." But the world has made wonderful prog- 
ress in forty years, and the art of electrotyping has 
kept up with the procession. Improved methods, labor- 
saving machinery, cheapening material and the skill 
which comes from long experience have combined to 
reduce the cost and improve the quality of the product, 
and to-day electrotyping has become an indispensable 
auxiliary to the printing business. It is perhaps safe 
to say that seventy-five per cent of the books published 
during the last decade have been electrotyped, to say 
nothing of innumerable engravings and jobs of all 
kinds which have passed through the electrotypers' 
hands. Fifty years ago there were in existence per- 
haps a dozen electrotyping plants. There are in the 
United States alone about two hundred and fifty estab- 
lishments having an estimated annual output of over 
$5,oOo,ooo. To such proportions has grown a business 
that had its beginning a half a century ago in a quart 




ELECTROTYPING as applied to the manufacture 
of printing plates may be briefly described as 
follows : A mold of the object to be copied is taken in 
beeswax and suspended, together with a plate of copper, 
in an acidulated solution of copper sulphate. The mold 
is attached to the negative pole of a battery or dynamo 
and the copper plate to the positive pole. The electric 
current passing through the bath decomposes the solu- 
tion and sets the copper free on the wax mold, deposit- 
ing it in an unbroken sheet. When the copper shell 
has become of sufficient thickness it is removed from 
the mold, strengthened with a backing of soft metal, 
straightened, shaved, trimmed and blocked, and is then 
ready for the printing press. As thus described the 
process is apparently a simple one ; but it is, in fact, an 
art which demands a high degree of manipulative skill 
and the closest attention to detail. 

The electric current which makes the electrotype 
possible must be of a certain strength and tension. If 
too strong or too weak, the deposited copper would be 
brittle, crystalline or spongy, and unsuitable for electro- 
types. It is obvious, therefore, that the source of elec- 
tricity is a most important consideration. The dynamo 
is now so generally employed for electrotyping that a 
detailed description of the galvanic battery would seem 


to be out of place were it not for the fact that there are 
possible conditions under which the battery may still be 
found useful — such, for instance, as small experimental 
work, the deposition of copper during the night, or 
under other circumstances where power for operating 
the dynamo is not available. 

In discussing the galvanic battery no effort will be 
made to consider the theory either of its action or the 
effect of the current on the solution. It will be suffi- 
cient to consider simply those facts a knowledge of 
which is essential to the successful practice of electro- 
typing. A plate of zinc and a plate of silver immersed 
in acidulated water and connected together with a wire 
will generate a current of electricity, and if this current 
is passed through a copper sulphate solution under 
proper conditions the solution will be decomposed. 
Why this is so and how it is done are matters concern- 
ing which various theories have been published in books 
devoted to these subjects and to which the reader is 
respectfully referred. 

While a scientific education is not essential to the 
successful practice of the electrotyper's art, he should 
possess a sufficient knowledge of chemistry and of the 
principles of electro-metallurgy to enable him to prop- 
erly prepare and care for his solutions and to recognize 
the cause and apply the remedy for the difficulties which 
will occasionally confront him. It is essential, also, that 
the student of this subject shall become familiar with 
certain technical terms which are unavoidable in a dis- 
cussion of the subject. The following list will be found 
to contain most of the words and terms peculiar to 
electrotyping : 


Positive plate, the active element (zinc) of the bat- 
tery. Negative plate, the inactive (silver) element of 
the battery. Positive pole, the wire attached to the 
silver plate by which the current leaves the battery. 
Negative pole, the wire attached to the zinc plate by 
which the current returns to the battery. Electrodes, 
the immersed surfaces of metal or other conductor, by 
which the current enters and leaves the liquid. Anode, 
the pole or plate by which the current enters the solu- 
tion. Cathode, the wax mold or other surface receiving 
the deposit and by which the current leaves the solu- 
tion. Volt, the unit of electro-motive force. Ampere, 
the unit of current strength. Watt, a current of one 
ampere at the pressure of one volt. 

There is hardly any limit to the number and variety 
of galvanic batteries extant, but for various reasons the 
one invented by Mr. Alfred Smee and bearing his name 
has been found most suitable for electrotyping. When 
a plate of copper and a plate of zinc are immersed in 
acidulated water and connected together with a wire, a 
current of electricity will at once begin to circulate, 
starting at the zinc, or positive plate ; passing through 
the fluid to the copper, or negative plate, and thence 
through the connecting wire back to the zinc. The 
current thus generated is at first powerful, but gradu- 
ally decreases in strength and finally ceases altogether, 
owing partly to so-called local action in the zinc plate 
and partly to the adherence of hydrogen bubbles to the 
copper plate, which have the effect of insulating it. 
The local action referred to is caused by particles of 
other metals, such as lead and tin, which are nearly 
always present in zinc to a greater or less extent. 


These foreign metals form minute but independent bat- 
teries in themselves, which serve to rapidly dissolve the 
zinc. This local action may be minimized by amalga- 
mating the zinc plate with mercury, which is done in 
the following manner : After thorough cleaning with 
caustic potash or dilute sulphuric acid, the zinc plate is 
placed in a shallow vessel and every part of its surface 
carefully coated with mercury mixed with a little sul- 
phuric acid. The coating may be applied with a flan- 
nel cloth tied to a stick or in any convenient manner, 
and should be well rubbed in. 

The adherence of hydrogen bubbles to the copper 
plate may be prevented to a large extent by roughening 
its surface. Mr. Smee improved upon this plan by sub- 
stituting a silver plate for the copper plate and roughen- 
ing the surface of the silver by platinizing. The first 
cost of silver plates is considerable and platinizing is 
also an expensive process, but the Smee battery is so 
far superior to the zinc-copper battery for electrotyping 
that the difference in first cost is a matter of small con- 
sequence. Solid silver plates are seldom employed in 
the battery, heavily plated copper plates having been 
found to answer the purpose nearly as well. Platinizing 
is effected by suspending the silver plate in a saturated 
solution of bichloride of platinum and acidulated water 
in the proportion of one part solution to thirty parts 
water. In the same vessel opposite the silver plate is a 
porous cell containing sulphuric acid and water ( i to 
id) with a zinc plate suspended in it. On connecting 
the zinc and silver plates with a wire the platinum in the 
solution will be deposited on the silver plate in the form 
of a nearly black powder, which roughens the surface 


of the plate and effectually prevents the adherence of 
hydrogen bubbles. 

A battery may consist of one or more sets of plates, 
the number and size of plates to be determined by the 
amount of work to be performed. To produce the best 
results the surface of the zinc element in the battery 
should equal the cathode surface in the depositing bath. 
That is to say, if it is desired to deposit copper on four 
molds at one time, each one square foot in area, then 
the battery should contain an equal area of zinc surface; 
a convenient size for the plates in a battery of this 
capacity would be 12 by 12 inches. A battery made 
up of four zinc and two silver plates, each twelve inches 
square, would deposit a good quality of copper over 
eight square feet of area. 

The electro-motive force of one Smee cell is sufficient 
to deposit copper on shallow molds, and there is, there- 
fore, no necessity for employing more than one cell for 
ordinary electrotyping, but care should be taken to make 
the cell large enough to accommodate a sufficient num- 
ber of zinc plates to equal the area of the molds in the 
depositing bath. In this connection it may be explained 
that while a strong current may be employed in electro- 
typing, but very little tension or electro-motive force is 
required, and it is well to remember that the size of the 
battery or the number of plates it contains, have noth- 
ing to do with its electro-motive force or the pushing 
power of its current. A cell of one quart capacity has 
the same E. M. F. as one of 100 gallons, but the 
strength or quantity of current depends on the area of 
zinc surface attacked. It is, therefore, essential in mak- 
ing up a battery for electrotyping to connect all the zinc 



plates to one electrode, and all the silver plates to the 
other. As before stated, the E. M. F. of one cell is 
sufficient for ordinary electrotyping; but for such work 
as steel or nickel facing, one cell would not have suffi- 
cient power to overcome the resistance offered by the 
iron or nickel solutions, and it becomes necessary to 
couple two or more cells together by connecting the 
zincs of one cell with the silvers of the other. In this 

Fig. I. 
Electrotype Battery. 

way the power of the battery to overcome resistance is 
increased in proportion to the number of cells employed, 
but the strength of the current remains the same unless 
the area of zinc surface attacked should also be increased. 
In Fig. I is illustrated a single-cell battery showing 
the electrode and cross-rods for supporting the zinc and 
silver plates. This cell is i8 inches long, i8 inches 
deep and i6 inches wide, and is designed for four zinc 


and two silver plates, each 1 2 inches square. This bat- 
tery is large enough to deposit from eight to ten feet of 
copper at a time. The electrodes are ^-inch copper 
rods, and the cross-rods are ^ inch in diameter. The 
vat is constructed of pine or vvhitewood planks, bolted 
together, and is lined with asphaltum. 

To obtain satisfactory shells at a minimum expense, 
the battery should receive careful attention. The zinc 
plates must be kept thoroughly amalgamated to prevent 
waste. With this object in view the plates should be 
frequently examined, and when dark spots are observed 
the plate should be reamalgamated. When not in 
action the zinc plates should always be removed from 
the cell. The battery should be stirred as often as every 
other day to equalize the solution, which becomes dense 
from the addition of sulphate of zinc. A little acid and 
water must also be added from time to time to keep up 
the strength of the battery. In mixing acid and water 
the acid should always be added to the water, and 
this should be done very slowly and carefully to avoid 
sudden heat and consequent danger of explosion. The 
silver plates require very little attention except an occa- 
sional washing, but should be platinized two or three 
times a year if in constant use. 

After being in action about a week the battery 
usually becomes so impregnated with sulphate of zinc 
that the addition of acid has little or no effect upon it. 
If the quantity of sulphate becomes excessive, it will 
crystallize on the positive element and entirely stop the 
action of the battery. When such conditions appear, 
it is better to throw away the contents of the battery 
than to attempt a remedy. 




AS previously stated, there are certain conditions 
. under which the galvanic battery may be found 
useful as a current generator for electrotyping, but it 
should be understood that in every respect except the 
quality of copper deposited the battery is inferior to the 
dynamo. Compared with the machine the battery is 
both slow and expensive. A shell which would require 
twelve hours' time to deposit with the battery may be 
deposited in one hour with the dynamo, and leaving the 
time element out of consideration the actual cost of 
deposition by the battery method is probably six times 
as great as by the machine. Theoretically a pound of 
copper should be obtained for each pound of zinc and 
acid consumed in the battery, but in actual working the 
consumption of zinc amounts to nearly two pounds. 
With zinc at 7 cents per pound, a copper shell tAd of 
an inch in thickness would cost for deposition about 
3 cents per square foot. On the other hand, a dynamo 
with a capacity of 160 square feet per day can be opera- 
ted at an expense for power of not to exceed 75 cents, 
or about J^ cent per square foot. The current gener- 
ated by the dynamo is powerful, uniform, and easily 
managed; while the machine itself requires but little 
attention, is clean and always ready for business. 

Dynamos of various sizes and types are now manu- 
factured specially for electrotyping and plating purposes. 



and the electrotyper is offered an unlimited assortment 
from which to choose. Dynamo building is no longer a 
mystery, and its principles are so well understood that 
there is no more excuse for building an inferior machine 
than there would be for building a poor steam engine. 

Fig. 2. 
Electrotvping Dynamo. 

There is, therefore, little danger of disappointment if 
the dynamo is purchased from a reputable manufac- 
turer, provided the requirements of the machine are 
thoroughly understood by purchaser and seller. It 
would be folly to attempt to force a ten-horse engine to 
do work requiring twenty horse-power, and it is equally 


foolish to expect a dynamo to do more work than it is 
designed to do. Here is where an error is often made. 
To save the few dollars difference in first cost a small 
machine is installed, overloaded and condemned, when 
the fault is not in the machine but in the man who over- 
loads it. Competition between builders of dynamos 
induces them to claim for their respective machines the 
utmost limit of their capacity when running under the 
most favorable conditions, and as the conditions are 
not always favorable, dissatisfaction results. The elec- 
trotyper should himself have a definite idea of the 
number of square feet he will require to deposit at one 
time and the speed at which he wishes to work, for it 
is true in electrotyping as in mechanics generally that 
' ' we cannot get something for nothing. ' ' A dynamo 
which will deposit loo feet of shells in two hours will 
deposit only 50 feet in one hour, and if a rapid rate of 
deposition is desired a correspondingly large machine 
must be employed. 

Authorities differ somewhat in their estimates as to 
the maximum current density which may be employed 
in electrotyping ; but it is safe to figure on about twenty- 
five amperes per square foot with the solution at rest 
and about fifty amperes with the solution in motion. 
On this basis, a dynamo of 500 amperes, with an E. M. 
F. of i)^ volts working one vat, would deposit about 
twenty feet at a time. If speed were no object a some- 
what larger area could be covered by reducing the volt- 
age. The most economical method of utilizing the 
current, and the one generally employed, is to connect 
the machine to two vats in series. By this means the 
current is utilized in both baths before it returns to 




the machine and the capacity of the dynamo is nearly 
doubled. Fig. 3 is a plan view of a double vat, show- 
ing the method of con- 
necting the dynamo in ^ ^^ 
scries. The current leav- 
ing the machine traverses 
the electrode a, enters the 
solution in the first vat by 
anode ( i ) , passes through 
the solution and leaves 
the vat by cathode (3) 
and the dead rod c, enters 
the second vat by the 
anode (2), leaves it by 
cathode (4) and returns 
to the dynamo by elec- 
trode d. By this method 
the current is made to do 
duty in both vats ; but 
inasmuch as the resist- 
ance of two solutions is 
double the resistance of 
one solution, the E. M. 
F. of the current must be 
double what would be re- 
quired for a single bath. 
If one volt pressure will 
overcome the resistance 
of one solution to an ex- 
tent sufficient to accom- 
plish a satisfactory rate of deposition, then two volts will 
be required to effect the same rate of deposition in two 

Fig. 3. 

Dynamo Connkctions on Double 


vats. It should be remembered that within certain 
Hmits the rate of deposition depends on the strength of 
current employed, and this fact should have due con- 
sideration in estimating the capacity of a machine. A 
good quality of copper may be deposited with a current 
density of thirteen or fourteen amperes per square foot, 
but the rate of deposition would be slow. On the other 
hand, fifty or more amperes per square foot may be em- 
ployed, under proper conditions, with a corresponding 
increase in the rate of deposition, but at an additional 
expense for power. In the first case, roughly speaking, 
about four hours would be required to deposit a shell 
TT)*i)5 of an inch in thickness, while in the latter case one 
hour would be sufiicient to deposit the same weight of 
copper. In the first case a 500-ampere machine on one 
vat would deposit about thirty-five feet at one time, 
while in the latter case it would deposit only one-fourth 
as large an area, but would accomplish the work four 
times as fast. In the long run the result would be the 
same so far as the total quantity of copper deposited is 
concerned, and where speed is no object the former 
current density is preferable because more economical 
in power. 

It has been stated that fifty or more amperes per 
square foot of cathode surface may be utilized in elec- 
trotyping under proper conditions, and that shells of 
average weight may be thus deposited in about one 
hour. To effect such a rapid rate of deposition it is 
essential, first, that the dynamo shall be constructed to 
supply a large volume of current without dangerously 
heating the machine; second, the solution should be 
properly proportioned; third, the solution or the anodes 


must be kept in constant motion; and fourth, all con- 
nections must be of large size, and the points of contact 
clean and firmly made. 

Large plants, in which more than two vats are oper- 
ated, usually employ more than one machine. In other 
words, it is considered good policy to employ two dyna- 
mos for four vats, rather than to couple all four vats to 
one dynamo. The object of such an arrangement is 
that one-half the plant may be discontinued during a 
dull season, and it also permits the use of low voltage 
machines, such as are carried in stock by the manufac- 
turers. From what has been previously said on this 
subject, it will be obvious that a dynamo working four 
vats in series would require to have four times the volt- 
age needed for one vat, and twice the voltage needed 
for two vats. If a very rapid rate of deposition is 
desired, a machine working four vats would need to be 
operated at a tension of eight or ten volts, whereas a 
tension of four to five volts would be sufficient for two 
vats. Machines of the latter capacity are of standard 
make, while it is probable that a ten-volt dynamo would 
have to be specially constructed. 

When purchasing a dynamo, consideration should 
be given to the possible maximum output of the foun- 
dry, as well as the rate of deposition desired. If the 
plant includes but one molding press and one black- 
leading machine, and rapid work is not imperative, a 
dynamo of 450 amperes and two volts would take care 
of all the work which could be turned out, for such a 
machine working two vats in series would deposit from 
forty to fifty square feet at one time, and would deposit 
a sufficiently heavy shell in about three hours. In other 


words, it would deposit about fifteen feet per hour, 
which would probably be the limit of the capacity of a 
foundry of the indicated size. If, however, it is desired 
to deposit fifteen feet every hour instead of forty-five 
feet every three hours, a much larger machine would be 
required, for, as has been before stated, the rate of 
deposition depends principally on the strength of cur- 
rent employed; and while a sufficient current density 
for a limited number of shells could be obtained from 
the small machine, it could be applied to only one vat 
at a time, because sufficient E. M. F. could not be 
generated to force the current through two solutions at 
the maximum speed. The capacity of the machine in 
square feet of cathodes which could be deposited at one 
time would, therefore, be cut down to one-quarter of 
the surface which could be covered at slow speed. 

To further illustrate this point, we will suppose a 
dynamo of 450 amperes and 2 ^ volts to be connected 
with two baths in series. Each bath would then be 
supplied with a current of i ^ volts pressure, and the 
quantity of current utilized would be approximately 30 
amperes per square foot of cathode. The total capacity 
of the machine, 450 amperes, divided by 30, gives 15, 
the number of feet which can be deposited at one time 
in each bath, or a total of 30 feet. Now, if it is desired 
to double the rate of deposition, it becomes neces- 
sary to double the pressure of the current, which would 
mean 5 volts instead of 2^. As the small machine 
cannot be made to produce 5 volts, the only alternative 
is to disconnect one of the vats. We now have 2^ 
volts applied to one bath, and are using about 60 
amperes per square foot of cathode ; 450 divided by 60 


gives 7j^ as the maximum number of feet which could 
be deposited at one time, and this is in theory only, for 
in actual practice it is found impracticable to deposit 
more than 5 feet, owing to the tendency of the machine 
to heat. The economy in operating a large dynamo for 
rapid deposition is thus plainly evident. 

The results of a series of tests recently conducted 
by the writer are given below : 

Dynamo No. i Lloyd 

Speed 1.350 

Volts 2% 

Amperes per square foot, about 51 

Number of baths i 

Area of cathodes, square feet 7 

Time of exposure, minutes 60 

Thickness of deposit, inches 003 

A similar test of a No. i Eddy dynamo produced the 
same result. It should be said that during the tests 
these machines were both operated at higher speeds 
than those mentioned, with the result that shells .007 
of an inch were deposited in one hour; but owing to 
heat generation only two or three square feet of cathode 
surface could be exposed at one time. 

A test of a larger machine resulted as follows : 

Dynamo No. 2 Lloyd 

Speed 1,000 

Volts, per vat 2^ 

Amperes per square foot of cathode, about. 54 

Number of baths in series 2 

Area of cathodes, square feet 20 

Time of exposure, minutes 60 

Thickness of shell, inches 0035 

These tests indicate that a dynamo of 800 amperes 
and 5 volts, working two baths in series, will deposit, 


without undue heating, about twenty-eight feet of shells 
per hour ; while a 450-ampere, 2^ -volt dynamo will 
only deposit about seven feet per hour. It appears, 
therefore, that rapid deposition is not practicable with a 
small machine. However, the difference in cost of 
installation is of slight moment in view of the increased 
product of the large machine, and should not stand in 
the way of the better service, particularly as the larger 
dynamo will perform a limited volume of work equally 
as well as the smaller, and at only a nominal increase in 
expense for power. In later tests with larger dynamos 
and an agitated solution the current strength was 
increased to 125 amperes per square foot, with the 
result that practical shells were produced in fifteen 
minutes. The above mentioned tests are given with 
the object of indicating how present facilities may 
be utilized to the best advantage by electrotypers 
whose machines equal or excel the capacity of the 
No. 2 Lloyd. 

Dynamos, as a rule, require but little attention, but 
should always be kept clean and well oiled. The com- 
mutator, in particular, should be occasionally cleaned 
with a piece of fine sandpaper (not emery paper) and 
then wiped off with a clean, damp cloth. Slow-speed 
machines require no lubricant on the commutator other 
than an occasional wiping with a damp cloth. On high- 
speed machines a very little vaseline may be applied 
every two or three hours. The brushes should fit the 
commutator fairly well, otherwise there will be a ten- 
dency to spark and heat. Sparking should never be 
permitted, as it rapidly wears the commutator. It may 
often be prevented by moving the brushes a little one 


way or the other from the position in which the spark- 
ing occurs. 

For nickel-facing electrotypes a current tension of 
2^ to 3 volts is required, and for this work a separate 
dynamo is usually employed ; but when the electrotyp- 
ing dynamo is sufficiently powerful the nickel bath may 
be operated in connection with the copper baths by pro- 
viding it with a resistance coil for regulating the strength 
of current supplied to it. With a dynamo operating at 
2^ volts it would be possible to work the nickel bath 
without a resistance coil, as in this case a sufficient vari- 
ation of current strength could be obtained by varying 
the distance between the cathodes and anodes. But if 
the tension exceeds 23^ volts, a means must be pro- 
vided for cutting down the current to the point best 
suited to the conditions of the work. 




THE depositing bath for electro typing in copper con- 
sists of a solution of blue vitriol acidulated with 
sulphuric acid. Copper sulphate, blue vitriol, or blue 
stone, as it is variously termed, forms crystals which 
when unadulterated are pure blue in color and cannot be 
mistaken for any other chemical. A green tinge indi- 
cates the presence of sulphate of iron and should be 
rejected. While the color is a sufficient guide to the 
purity of the sulphate it may be further tested by boil- 
ing a small quantity of the solution with a little nitric 
acid and adding spirits of ammonia in excess. The 
presence of iron will be indicated by brown flakes. 
Distilled water or filtered rain water should, if possible, 
be used in making the solution. If rain or distilled 
water cannot be conveniently obtained, well or lake 
water will answer, but should always be thoroughly 
boiled and filtered. 

Sulphuric acid (oil of vitriol) for acidulating the 
solution should be used pure and concentrated. The 
crude acid contains arsenic which renders it unfit for use 
in electrotyping solutions. The pure acid has a specific 
gravity of 1.84. It may be recognized by mixing one 
part with twenty-five parts of distilled water and com- 
pounding with a few drops of barium chloride, when a 
white precipitate will be formed. In diluting acid with 


water it should always be added to the water very slowly 
and with constant stirring, as the heat generated by the 
contact of the acid and water might otherwise be suffi- 
cient to cause a dangerous explosion. Sulphuric acid 
is exceedingly corrosive and should always be kept in 
glass bottles or carboys. 

The copper solution is the least troublesome of all 
electrolytes. While some baths require accurate pro- 
portionment, the use of distilled water, and even an 
exact degree of temperature for their successful opera- 
tion, the copper bath may be widely varied in propor- 
tion and will work well under considerable variation ot 
temperature. Nevertheless, there are certain limits oi 
proportionment which must be observed to obtain rapid 
deposition of a good quality of copper; for, while the 
rate of deposition depends very largely on the strength 
of current, it is essential that the solution be constituted 
to work in harmony with the current. The essential 
qualities of the solution are to present the least possible 
resistance to the electric current and to dissolve the 
anode with the same rapidity with which the copper 
from the solution is deposited on the cathode. A solu- 
tion of copper sulphate without the addition of acid 
will conduct electricity, but its resistance is such that 
a very strong current is required to overcome it. Von 
Hiibl found that the minimum current density per 
square foot of cathode in a fifteen-per-cent blue vitriol 
solution without acidulation is 24. i amperes, while the 
same solution with six per cent sulphuric acid added 
required but 13.9 amperes. But while it is thus shown 
that the addition of sulphuric acid lessens the resistance 


of the solution, there remains a wide difference of opin- 
ion as to the maximum quantity of acid which may be 
employed to advantage. 

It is not difficult to prepare a solution which with a 
moderate current will deposit copper of good quality at 
a moderate speed. As an evidence of this fact it may 
be stated that it would be difficult to find two solutions 
exactly similar, the variations extending from twelve to 
twenty-two per cent blue vitriol, and from two to eight 
per cent acid. However, there is no question but that 
a moderately rich solution is preferable and even neces- 
sary for rapid work. A solution poor in copper will 
deposit quickly, but the shells are apt to be porous and 
granular. On the other hand, a solution too rich in 
copper will deposit slowly and in crystalline form. 
Deposits of this nature are specially noticeable when a 
weak current is employed, and it is also noteworthy 
that a poor solution is much more apt to produce gran- 
ular deposits when the current is strong. From these 
facts it appears that a richer solution may be employed 
with a strong than with a weak current. Almost any 
kind of a solution, within reasonable limits, will do good 
work if the current strength is adapted to work in har- 
mony with it. That is to say, by observing the quality 
of copper deposited and increasing or decreasing the 
current strength as the conditions demand. For in- 
stance, if a pulverulent deposit is obtained it is an indi- 
cation that the current is too strong or the solution too 
weak, and the defect may be most easily remedied by 
reducing the current strength either by means of a 
switchboard or by decreasing the speed of the dynamo. 


On the other hand, a crystalline, brittle deposit indi- 
cates a weak current or a rich solution, and may be 
remedied by increasing the dynamo speed. However, 
if rapid deposition is desired the solution must be con- 
stituted to work with a strong current, and defects in 
the deposit should be remedied, so far as possible, by 
changing the solution rather than the dynamo, inas- 
much as a reduction in the speed of the machine would 
retard the rate of deposition. Of course, there are 
well-defined limits to the current strength which may 
be effectively employed with any solution, and it should 
be the object of the operator to determine the highest 
effective point of harmony between the two. With 
the bath at rest, a fourteen to sixteen per cent solution 
acidulated with two to three per cent sulphuric acid and 
a current density of fifteen to eighteen amperes per 
square foot has been found most satisfactory. An agi- 
tated solution may be made somewhat richer if a 
stronger current be employed, say eighteen to twenty 
per cent blue vitriol and three to six per cent acid. 
The depositing vat for the copper solution should be 
solidly constructed of pine or whitewood planks bolted 
together and lined with sheet lead united at the corners 
by ' ' burning ' ' or melting the sheets together. Solder- 
ing will not answer, as the acid in the solution will 
attack the solder, and soon eat its way through. The 
vat should preferably be partitioned into two compart- 
ments, in order that the dynamo may be operated in 
series, as previously described. It is essential also that 
the vat shall be of ample size. The resistance presented 
to the electric current by the solution is enormous, 



and only a great area will compensate for its lack of 
conductivity. At least loo gallons of solution should 
be provided for each twenty feet of cathode surface 
exposed. A convenient size and shape of depositing 
vat is shown in Fig. 4. The length is 60 inches, width 

Fig. 4. — Electrotyper's Depositing Vat. 

30 inches, and depth 26 inches. It will contain about 
200 gallons of solution, and will accommodate about 
ten cases of average size in each compartment. 

In mixing the solution the vat should be about two- 
thirds filled with rain, distilled or boiled water. The 
blue vitriol may be conveniently dissolved by suspending 
it in cheese-cloth bags just under the surface of the 
water. As the water becomes saturated it will sink to 
the bottom of the vat, and should be frequently stirred 
and tested with a Baume hydrometer, when 14 or 


15 degrees is indicated on the instrument the bags 
of vitriol may be removed and sulphuric acid added 
to the solution, with constant stirring, until the reading 
of the hydrometer is increased two or three degrees. 
This solution will work well with a moderate current. 
If the current strength is more than 20 amperes per 
square foot, the solution may be enriched by the addi- 
tion of blue vitriol to the extent of two or three degrees, 
and if required as many degrees of acid may also be 

The solution should be well stirred, and may be used 
at once, although it usually works better after standing 
a few days. 




COPPER is almost universally employed for the pro- 
duction of electrotypes for printing purposes, and 
generally speaking it is the most suitable of all metals 
for this purpose. It is easily deposited, is tough, duc- 
tile, practically non-corrosive and inexpensive. How- 
ever, it is too soft to stand the wear of very large edi- 
tions, and it does not print well with colors containing 
mercury, which chemically attacks copper. To over- 
come these defects it is customary, when the circum- 
stances are such as to warrant the extra labor and 
expense, to face the copper electrotype with steel, brass 
or nickel. This is effected (a) by suspending the fin- 
ished electrotype in the proper solution and depositing 
thereon a film of harder metal, or {b) by suspending 
the wax or other mold in the hard-metal solution, 
obtaining thereon a preliminary deposit, and then trans- 
ferring it to the copper bath where it is strengthened by 
a sufficiently heavy deposit of copper. Of these meth- 
ods, the former is the more readily performed and the 
latter the more accurate in results. By the former 
method it is obvious that only a very thin facing can 
be given to the electrotype without impairing its accu- 
racy, and it is doubtful if any kind of a facing could 
be given to a fine-screen half-tone by this method 


without destroying something of its delicacy. How- 
ever, electrotype plates of ordinary character may have 
a thin facing of harder metal deposited upon them 
without perceptibly affecting their accuracy. 

Of the three metals employed for facing electrotypes, 
nickel is the more readily deposited and its solution the 
least troublesome to manage. It is malleable and duc- 
tile, and nearly or quite as hard as iron. Moreover, 
it is non-corrosive and altogether is an ideal metal for 
the purpose. Various solutions are recommended for 
the nickel-depositing bath, each of which has its ad- 
vocates, but many of them are more or less compli- 
cated and require special care in management. A 
simple bath which has been thoroughly tested in some 
of the largest electrotyping establishments in the coun- 
try is made by dissolving the double sulphate of nickel 
and ammonia in warm water in the proportion of ^ 
of a pound of the salts in each gallon of water. The 
procedure is the same that has been recommended 
for the copper solution, i. e. , the salts should be sus- 
pended in cheese-cloth bags just under the surface ot 
the water until entirely dissolved, when the solution 
should be well stirred and is then ready for use. Some 
operators add about ten per cent of common salt to 
the solution for the purpose of increasing its conduc- 

The deposition of iron is attended with more or less 
difficulty, and is not always successfully accomplished 
even by experienced operators. A good bath for iron 
(steel) facing may be made by dissolving two pounds 
of the double sulphate of iron and ammonia in each 


gallon of water. Another bath, recommended by Urqu- 
hart, is prepared by adding a solution of carbonate of 
ammonia to a solution of sulphate of iron until the iron 
is precipitated, when the liquid portion should be poured 
off and the precipitate washed, after which it is dissolved 
to saturation in a bulk of sulphuric acid equal to the 
volume of solution required. 

Another iron solution consists of 56 pounds of car- 
bonate of ammonia dissolved in 35 gallons of water and 
supplied with iron by means of a large anode and an 
electric current from the dynamo. 

The solution which seems to be most popular for the 
production of iron electrotypes, and which is highly 
recommended by M. Klein, is composed of equal parts 
of sulphate of iron (green vitriol) and sulphate of mag- 
nesia, kept neutral by bags of carbonate of magnesia 
suspended in the bath. A sufficient quantity of the 
sulphates should be dissolved in water to make the spe- 
cific gravity 1.55, i. e. , about 51° Baum6. This bath 
requires a current density of 18.5 amperes per square 
foot. A peculiarity of all iron solutions is that the 
anodes must always be of large size, preferably about 
eight times as large as the cathodes. 

The deposition of brass is also attended with some 
difficulty, chiefly because it is composed of two metals, 
one of which is positive and the other negative, hence 
the current strength requires more or less regulation to 
insure uniform deposition of both metals. As brass is 
composed of copper and zinc, the salts of these two 
metals must necessarily form the basis of the depositing 
solution. A good brassing solution consists of 16 


ounces of cyanide of potassium, 5 ounces carbonate 
of copper, i^ ounces carbonate of zinc, i ounce of 
ammonia, and i gallon of water. The following formu- 
las are recommended by Roseleur and Dr. Langbein: 
Copper sulphate and zinc sulphate, each 53^ ounces, 
and crystallized carbonate of soda, 15^ ounces. Crys- 
tallized carbonate of soda and crystallized bisulphide 
of soda, each 7 ounces ; 98 per cent potassium cyanide, 
8^ ounces ; arsenious acid, 30^ grains ; water, 10 
quarts. The bath is prepared by dissolving the copper 
and zinc sulphates in 5 quarts of warm water, and in 
the other 5 quarts, the 15^ ounces of carbonate of 
soda; then mix both solutions, which will form a pre- 
cipitate of the carbonates of copper and zinc. After 
setting ten or twelve hours the supernatant liquor is 
poured off and sufficient water added to the precipitate 
to make six quarts of solution. Now add to the bath 
with constant stirring the carbonate and bisulphide of 
soda. Dissolve the potassium in 4 quarts of cold water 
and add this solution to the first solution with the ex- 
ception of one-half pint, in which the arsenious acid is 
dissolved by the aid of heat, when it is also added to 
the bath. This solution should be thoroughly boiled for 
one or two hours and the water lost by evaporation 

Another brass solution, which is less troublesome to 
prepare, contains crystallized carbonate of soda, ioj4 
ounces ; crystallized bisulphate of soda, 7 ounces ; 
neutral acetate of copper, 4.4 ounces ; crystallized 
chloride of zinc, 4.4 ounces ; 98 per cent potassium 
cyanide, 14. 11 ounces; arsenious acid, 30^ grains; 


water, lo quarts. Dissolve the carbonate and bisul- 
phate of soda in 4 quarts of water, then mix the acetate 
of copper and chloride of zinc with 2 quarts of water 
and add this solution to the first ; retaining, however, 
a small portion of it in which to dissolve the arsenious 
acid with the aid of heat. Finally, add the arsenious 
acid solution, when the bath becomes clear. Boiling 
the bath or working it through with the current is 

The following solution is recommended by Watt : 
Cyanide of potassium, i pound ; carbonate of ammonia, 
I pound ; cyanide of copper, 2 ounces ; cyanide of zinc, 
I ounce ; water, i gallon. 

Another brassing solution which the writer has 
found very satisfactory consists of 16 ounces cyanide 
of potassium, 5 ounces carbonate of copper, i ^ ounces 
carbonate of zinc, i ounce ammonia, and one gallon of 

Solutions containing cyanides would immediately 
destroy wax or gutta-percha molds, and their use is 
therefore restricted to plating or facing electrotypes or 
other metallic articles. 




THE acid copper solution is not difficult to manage 
and may be kept for years in constant use by 
adding from time to time a little of one or the other of 
its constituents as may be needful to make good the 
loss occasioned by various causes. This loss is prin- 
cipally by evaporation, and by simply adding a few pints 
of distilled water the solution may generally be restored 
to nearly its original proportions. 

Under ordinary conditions the copper withdrawn 
from the bath and deposited on the cathode is not 
fully replaced by the anodes, and it is necessary, there- 
fore, to enrich the solution occasionally with a little 
sulphate of copper, which may be done by suspending 
just under the surface of the solution a few pounds of 
the crystals in a cheese-cloth bag. A reduction in the 
content of copper in the bath from this cause always 
produces a corresponding increase of free acid. Should 
the content of acid become excessive, it may be neu- 
tralized by the addition to the solution of a little car- 
bonate of copper. 

When the anodes are larger than the cathodes — or 
when, as may happen, a number of anodes are left in 
the bath, connected with the current, while molds are 


being prepared for the depositing process — the quan- 
tity of copper dissolved will exceed the quantity depos- 
ited, resulting in undue concentration of the solution. 
This condition will be indicated by a tardy formation 
of the deposit and the production of a shell of brittle 
and crystalline character. Moreover, a dense solution, 
unless continuously agitated, is apt to produce streaky 
deposits. An excess of copper is further indicated by 
the formation of crystals of sulphate of copper on the 
sides of the vat and sometimes on the anodes. When 
such conditions appear, the obvious remedy is to dilute 
the solution with water. However, the addition of water 
to make good the loss caused by evaporation is usually 
sufficient to remedy any excess of copper without further 

A quiescent solution always becomes more concen- 
trated at the bottom than at the top of the vat. As a 
result of this condition the lower portion of the anode 
will be dissolved less freely than the upper on account 
of the increased resistance; but, on the other hand, the 
copper will be deposited more rapidly on the lower por- 
tion of the cathode where the largest quantity of metal 
is in solution. For the same reason that portion of the 
cathode which is suspended in the heavier strata of the 
bath is apt to become covered with nodules or excres- 
cences which are more or less annoying and wasteful. 
This difficulty may be minimized by stirring the solution 
occasionally with a wooden paddle, which will tem- 
porarily equalize its density. The bath should not be 
stirred while in use, particularly if old and dirty, as the 


impurities which will have settled on the bottom of the 
vat would be likely to lodge on the work and cause 
holes in the shells. Some electrotypers are content to 
stir the solutions once a week, usually on Saturday 
evening, thus giving the bath thirty-six hours in which 
to settle; but, unless very dirty, it is advisable to stir 
it as often as every twenty-four hours. When a bath 
has become so dirty that it cannot be agitated without 
danger of injuring the work it should be filtered. 

The temperature of the bath should be kept between 
65 and 75 degrees Fahr. At 65 degrees the best qual- 
ity of copper is produced; but the quality is not seri- 
ously impaired by raising the temperature ten degrees, 
while the rate of deposition is materially increased. 
Baths located in a room not heated at night may be 
provided with a coil of lead pipe through which steam 
may be circulated and the temperature increased thereby 
as desired. Deposition always proceeds sluggishly on 
cold mornings, unless some provision for warming the 
solution is made. It is always desirable to keep the 
baths in a room separate from the molding and finishing 
departments in order to protect them as far as possible 
from dust and flying particles of metal. It is also a 
good plan to keep the vats covered when not in use. 

The anodes should be removed from the solution 
daily, and thoroughly cleaned from the slime which 
accumulates on them and which has the eflfect of par- 
tially insulating them. 

What has been said regarding the general care of 
the copper bath applies also to the nickel bath. An 


occasional addition of water to restore the loss occa- 
sioned by evaporation is imperative, as is also the addi- 
tion of a few crystals of nickel salts from time to time if 
the bath becomes impoverished. 

Brass and iron baths are more troublesome than 
either copper or nickel. The brass bath requires fre- 
quent building up, particularly if not in regular use. 
As brass contains a larger proportion of copper than 
zinc, the copper in the bath becomes first exhausted, 
and sufficient carbonate or cyanide of copper, according 
to the constitution of the bath, must be added to restore 
the proper proportions. Cyanide of potassium must 
also be supplied when the action of the bath becomes 
sluggish and no bubbles are observed on the cathodes. 
When, however, there is a vigorous evolution of gas it 
is an indication of an excess of cyanide, and a slow 
deposit under these circumstances would be remedied 
by the addition of the metallic salts. A deposit of light 
color would indicate a want of copper in the solution, 
and a dark color a lack of zinc. However, the color is 
not a reliable guide, as it may be caused by a variation 
in the density of current employed. A weak current 
would deposit more copper than zinc and would give its 
color to the deposit, while a strong current deposits 
both metals in their proper proportions. Constant 
watchfulness is required to keep the brass bath in good 
working condition. 

The iron bath is even more troublesome than brass 
and less certain in the production of satisfactory depos- 
its. Owing to its tendency to oxidize, the bath must 


be frequently filtered to insure uniform deposits. For 
the same reason it should be kept under cover when 
possible. The surface of anodes exposed should always 
be seven or eight times greater than the cathodes. 




THE continuous agitation of the copper bath is of 
great advantage to the electrotyper, particularly 
when rapid deposition is desired. The copper is more 
evenly deposited and of better quality, the formation 
of gas bubbles and also of nodules and excrescences 
is largely prevented, while the annoying streaks which 
sometimes appear on the deposit, usually as the result 
of an excess of metal in the solution, are seldom or 
never seen in an agitated bath. But the principal 
advantage may be found in the fact that much higher 
current densities may be utilized, resulting in a corre- 
sponding increased rate of deposition. With a quiescent 
solution the quantity of current which may be employed 
is limited to about i8 or 20 amperes per square foot ; 
any excess of this quantity usually results in a deposit, 
dark red or black in color, and rotten, porous or granu- 
lar in texture. But in an agitated bath these defects 
disappear. The copper becomes lighter in color, and 
tough and ductile in character, and these conditions 
will not change materially even when the current density 
is increased to 100 amperes or more per square foot. 
A quiescent solution is seldom of equal density 
throughout. The heavier portions settle to the bottom 


of the vat and the lighter portions rise to the top, and 
while the density of the bath may be temporarily equal- 
ized by occasional stirring, there is a continual tendency 
to separation. The evils resulting from this lack of 
homogeneity have been described in a previous chapter, 
and the remedy for these evils is continuous agitation. 
There are various methods by which this object may be 
accomplished. A small propeller may be operated 
near the bottom at one end of the vat, or, where sev- 
eral vats are employed, they may be arranged in steps 
and the solution permitted to flow through a connecting 
pipe from the upper vat to the next lower vat, and so 
on through the series. 

Fig. 5 shows a depositing vat arranged for working 
by the Englehard process. For electrotyping, the 
anodes used are about 7 inches wide and i^ inches 
thick, the length being as may be needed for the work 
in hand. They are mounted on spindles as shown, 
and by suitable arrangement are rotated by power 
while the battery is in action, the usual rate of speed 
being about fifty revolutions per minute. The agita- 
tion of the solution insures thorough mixture and uni- 
form density ; friction between the solution and the 
moving anode clears its surface of foreign matter and 
facilitates its rapid dissolution. This also permits the 
employment of much greater electrical energy than 
in vats as ordinarily worked — in fact, quite beyond the 
capacity of nearly every plating dynamo in use. The 
inventor claims a current of 6 or more volts per vat, 
and 75 to 100 amperes per square foot of cathode 



Fig. 5. 



may be used without the least indication of burning 
the deposit, which is of finer quality than that usually 
made in the old way, and the quantity of metal thrown 
down is fully twice as much in a given time. 

The Dunton* method for producing a circulation in 
the solution is illustrated in Fig. 6. A small centrifu- 
gal pump, with a capacity of about 40 gallons per 

Fig 6. 

minute, rests on the bottom of one corner of the vat. 
The solution is drawn in through a strainer at a point 
over the center of the wheel, near the bottom of the 
vat, and discharged near the surface. In this manner 
the heavier liquid is lifted, and by the force of its dis- 
charge a circular motion is imparted to the whole body. 
It is forced toward the end of the tub, where it glances 


across, down the other side, some of it passing between 
the anodes and cathodes, across the opposite end to a 
point nearly over the pump. The pvmip occupies an 
area 6^ inches square by 4 inches high, and is con- 
structed entirely of lead and hard rubber. Above the 
solution the shaft ends in a length of hardened steel 
tubing, which runs in the upper bearing and carries the 
driving gear. The two lower bearings, under the solu- 
tion, consist of flint glass bushings pressed into hard 
rubber jackets, then forced into the sleeves provided at 
the top and bottom of the pump casing. 

Fig. 7 illustrates the Leetham apparatus, which is 
particularly suitable for electrotyping solutions. Agita- 
tion is effected by air compressed in a reservoir by a 
small double-acting pump. The air is forced into the 
baths through perforated lead pipes which lie on the 
bottom of the vats, where they are entirely out of the 
way of the work. 

The perforations in the pipes are only about one inch 
apart, which insures thorough circulation of the solu- 
tion between the anodes and cathodes. 

The pressure is regulated by valves, and the agita- 
tion may therefore be made more or less violent at the 
pleasure of the operator. On top of the air reservoir 
and connected with it is a condensing chamber through 
which the air passes before it is admitted to the vat. 
The condensing chamber is provided with an inlet for 
steam. When it is desired to increase the temperature 
of the bath or increase its contents of water, steam is 
admitted to the chamber, where it is condensed, and is 



Fig. 7. 


then conveyed to the solution through the air pipes. 
This device therefore provides a means for heating the 
sohition and supplying it with distilled water as well as 
agitating it. Another obvious advantage of this appa- 
ratus is that one machine will agitate the contents of 
several vats. 




A CONVENIENT and almost indispensable measur- 
ing instrument in the electrotype foundry is the 
hydrometer, or, as it is popularly termed, acid gauge. 
By its aid the desired quantity of salts or acid in the 
bath may be conveniently measured, and the specific 
gravity of any solution readily determined. The hydrom- 
eter consists of a glass tube with a graduated stem of 
uniform diameter, a bulb to cause it to float in the 
liquid, and a weight to keep it upright as it floats. 
From the reading of the scale at the point which is on a 
level with the liquid in which it is floating, the density 
of the fluid may be ascertained. In pure water at 
a temperature of 60° Fahr., the hydrometer sinks 
to the zero mark, but by the addition of salts or acid 
having a greater density than water, the bulb is forced 
upward, and the reading on the scale will then indicate 
the increased density. In making up electrotyping 
solutions, the hydrometer is floated in a vat partially 
filled with water. Sulphate of copper is then dissolved 
in the water until the increased density of the solution 
forces the instrument upward to a reading which is 


known to indicate the desired proportions. Sulphuric 
acid is then added to the solution until the desired 
quantity is denoted on the scale of the instrument. To 
further illustrate : a popular bath for nickel-plating is 
made by dissolving three-fourths of a pound of salts in 
each gallon of water ; but instead of weighing the salts 
and measuring the water the same proportion may be 
obtained by dissolving salts in any quantity of water 
until the hydrometer scale registers 7 degrees. There 
are two well-known makes of hydrometers in use, 
namely : the Baum^ and the Twaddle. Every degree 
on the scale of a Twaddle hydrometer represents .005 
of a degree of specific gravity. Zero on the scale is 
equivalent to specific gravity. To ascertain by a 
Twaddle hydrometer the specific gravity of any liquid 
heavier than water, multiply the reading by .005 and 
add 1.000. For example, the reading on the hydrom- 
eter is 60 degrees : 60 X .005 = .300 + = 1.300, 
the actual specific gravity of the liquid. The specific 
gravity of a liquid may also be easily ascertained by 
means of a Baum^ hydrometer by a simple calculation 
as follows : Subtract the reading from the number 144, 
and divide the same number by the difference. For 

example, 144 — 50 = -^ ^ i-532, the specific gravity 

of a liquid registering 50 degrees on a Baume hydrom- 

Instruments for measuring electric currents should 
belong to the equipment of every well-ordered electro- 
typing establishment. In the early days of the art it 


was sufficient to know that a current of some kind was 
at work and that in due course of time a shell of suf- 
ficient thickness would be deposited. It might take 
twelve hours at one time and eighteen at another, but a 
few hours more or less was not considered of serious 
moment. With the modern electrotyper, however, 
every minute counts, and as a rule he employs all the 
current strength which can be utilized without burning 
the deposit. Having learned by experience what quan- 
tity may be employed to advantage, it is of great con- 
venience to be able to measure the current and by 
means of proper registering instruments maintain the 
pressure at the maximum point. Instruments for meas- 
uring electricity are the voltmeter and the ammeter. 
The former measures the tension and the latter the 
density of the current. While the scientific electrotyper 
would find both instruments convenient, the ammeter is 
not indispensable, for the strength of a current proceed- 
ing from a dynamo increases with the tension, and an 
instrument which registers the tension would, so far as 
the electrotyper' s necessities are concerned, also meas- 
ure the volume. Assuming that one volt pressure is 
sufficient to force a current of 12 amperes per square 
foot of cathode through a solution of given proportions, 
then with two volts pressure the current strength would 
be increased to 24 amperes and three volts would mean 
about 36 amperes per square foot. If, therefore, the 
electrotyper is provided with a voltmeter he may 
determine with sufficient accuracy for his purpose the 
strength of current employed. 


The speed with which copper may be deposited 
depends on certain conditions, but more especially on 
the density of current employed. To reproduce such 
conditions at all times it is important that the E. M. F. 
existing between the anode and cathode should be 
accurately measured. The ordinary galvanometer is 
insufficient for this purpose because it does not give an 
accurate reading of the tension. On the other hand, a 
sensitive voltmeter will indicate any loss of power due 
to slipping belts, short circuits or irregularities of any 
kind, and when used in connection with a switchboard 
will enable the electrotyper to accurately reproduce the 
conditions which he has found by experience conducive 
to success. 

The switchboard or resistance board consists of a 
number of metallic spirals, usually of German silver, 
arranged on a board in such a manner that one or 
more of them may be switched into the circuit, 
thus presenting more or less resistance, as may be 
desired, to the passage of the current. The utility 
of the switchboard may be illustrated as follows : sup- 
pose a tension of 2j^ volts is desired in the bath 
and that by reason of slipping belts or other causes 
the tension has been reduced to 2^ volts. Then by 
moving the handle of the switchboard one or two but- 
tons a corresponding number of spirals will be cut out 
of the resistance, permitting a larger quantity of current 
to enter the bath. Or suppose the load in the bath be 
much smaller than usual, or for any other cause the ten- 
sion increases beyond the desired limit, a movement of 


the switch handle ia the opposite direction will increase 
the resistance by adding to the number of spirals in the 
circuit and the tension will thus be regulated. The 
wires connecting the voltmeter with the baths may be 
arranged in such manner that the tension in any one of 
a series may be readily determined. 




SUCCESS in electrotyping depends largely on care- 
ful attention to details, not the least important of 
which is the preparation of cuts or type forms for mold- 
ing. The finished electrotype must be perfectly flat to 
insure satisfactory printing. If the original form is 
defective by reason of imperfect justification, high or low 
cuts or type, the defects will necessarily appear in the 
electrotype and must finally be rectified at the finishing 
bench. The truth of the old adage ' 'A stitch in time 
saves nine ' ' is nowhere better illustrated than in electro- 
typing. A few minutes' time spent in making ready the 
form for molding frequently saves hours at the finishing , 
bench, particularly when a number of duplicate electro- 
types are made from the same form. For instance, a 
broken or mashed type, unless discovered and replaced 
by a perfect one before the form is molded, will be a 
defect existing in every electrotype made from that form 
and must be finally corrected by punching out the 
defective letter and soldering in its place a perfect type. 
These defects are not always the fault of the electro- 
typer, but it is nearly always difficult to convince the 


printer of that fact unless a proof is furnished by the 
printer with the job. 

Printers' forms frequently consist of both type and 
cuts, and it often happens that the cuts are lower or 
higher than the type. Here again a few minutes' time 
spent in shaving down or underlaying the cuts, as the 
case may demand, will save much valuable time in the 
later operations of finishing, and will also insure a better 
electrotype, for it is obvious that if the cut is low in the 
plate it must be forced up to a level with the type by 
punching or hammering, and it will be plain, even to 
the novice, that a plate which has been subjected to 
such treatment will be less perfect than one which has 
been corrected in the original and which, therefore, 
requires but litde attention from the finisher. 

Usually better results are obtained by the molder 
from metal-mounted cuts than when they are mounted 
on wood, as the wood bases are liable to yield somewhat 
under pressure and will thus make a shallower impres- 
sion in the molding composition than the surrounding 
type. Moreover there is danger of losing something of 
the detail of the engraving. This is more especially 
true of half-tone engravings, which should always be 
mounted on metal bases. 

Wood engravings, when subjected to changes of tem- 
perature or atmospheric conditions, sometimes check or 
crack. When it is desired to make an electrotype of 
such an engraving, the checks, if not too large, may be 
closed by covering them with strips of damp blotting 
paper and then applying a hot building iron to the 


paper until it is wholly or partially dry. When the 
check has been closed the mold should be made at once 
before it has time to open again. 

Forms which are to be electrotyped should be sur- 
rounded by type-high beveled bearers with the beveled 
side next the type. The bearers prevent the wax or 
composition from spreading, and also serve to protect 
the face of the electrotype from injury during the oper- 
ations of shaving and finishing. 

When low leads, quads and furniture are used to 
justify the form, the larger blanks may be filled up to the 
shoulders of the type with strips of wax. The wax will 
adhere to the furniture sufficiently to hold them in place 
when the form is inverted on the case ; and, on the other 
hand, if the wax filling is well brushed over with black- 
lead after it has been placed in the blanks, it will not 
adhere to the mold. Preparing the forms in this manner 
will prevent undue displacement of the molding compo- 
sition and facilitate the later operations of cutting down 
and building. Parts of book pages or pages of poetry 
should have an inverted type placed in each corner of 
the page to indicate the size of the page and serve as a 
guide to the finisher, and title-pages and large blanks 
of all kinds should have inverted letters so placed as 
to protect isolated lines from injury during the finishing 

All forms which are to be electrotyped should be 

securely locked in extra strong chases and be perfectly 

justified. The type should be squarely on its feet and 

carefully planed. The pressure employed in molding is 



such that unless great care is taken to lock up the forms 
securely the wax will be forced between the bodies of 
the type, causing them to spread and throwing them off 
their feet. This will result in an imperfect plate, and at 
the same time be the cause of much trouble and annoy- 
ance owing to the difficulty of removing the wax thus 
firmly imbedded in the form. Moreover, unless the 
form is securely locked, there is danger that some of the 
types will be drawn out of the form, when it is separated 
from the mold, and lost or misplaced. 




THE most important department of electrotyping, 
from the workman's point of view, is the molding, 
and it is here that the question of profit or loss on a job 
is often determined. In some other departments of the 
foundry the work may be slighted to some extent with- 
out materially affecting the output, but carelessness or 
inefficiency on the part of the molder always means 
delay, extra expense for finishing inferior electrotypes, 
and possibly a final rejection of the job. A cheap 
(poor) molder is always the most expensive man in 
the foundry, for unless a perfect mold is obtained the 
time expended in later operations of depositing, casting 
and finishing will be wasted. Until recently the mate- 
rial most generally employed for molding composition 
was beeswax, mixed with a little crude turpentine and 
plumbago. The proportions vary somewhat, according 
to the ideas of the molder. A good combination is 
composed of pure beeswax eighty-five per cent, tur- 
pentine ten per cent and plumbago five per cent. If 
the molding room is very warm, about five per cent of 
burgundy pitch may be added with advantage. A 
cheaper material which is now quite generally em- 
ployed is ozokerite. Ozokerite is a mineral wax, which 
can hardly be distinguished from beeswax. It has a 


high melting point, is non-adhesive and by most elec- 
trotypers is claimed to be superior to beeswax for gen- 
eral work. In some instances gutta-percha is employed 
as a molding material, and under proper conditions the 
results obtained are very satisfactory. The kind best 
adapted for the work is what is known as the unmanu- 
factured but purified sheet. Gutta-percha takes a coat- 
ing of blacklead readily, and is impervious to the solu- 
tion. When used for molding without pressure, as is 
usually the case in duplicating steel engravings or arti- 
cles of a fragile nature, it is melted and thoroughly 
mixed with about forty per cent refined lard, or it may 
be dissolved in bisulphide of carbon, and then moder- 
ately heated until it is thin enough to pour. 

A good molding composition for certain purposes 
may be made by melting together one pound of lead, 
^ pound of tin, and i^^ pounds of bismuth. This 
alloy melts at the temperature of boiling water, and 
assumes a soft but firm condition just before setting, 
at which time the impression should be made. The 
principal advantage of this composition is found in the 
fact that it expands in cooling, and therefore takes a 
very sharp impression. An elastic composition recom- 
mended by Urquhart, which may be used for molding 
an entire object at one time, is prepared as follows: 
Eight pounds of good glue is soaked in cold water 
until quite soft. It is then placed in a glue-pot and 
mixed with two pounds of treacle. The whole is heated 
and thoroughly incorporated by stirring; when the 
mold is not likely to be roughly handled, ^ pound of 
beeswax may be added to the mixture. This material 
is poured around the prepared object, and when set 


may be cut open from top to bottom and the object 
removed ; the mold will now sprinj^ into its original 
position and shape. The tendency of this composition 
to absorb water may be prevented by immersing the 
mold in a weak solution of bichromate of potash and 
drying in the sun. An insoluble coating is thus secured. 

A list of materials suitable for molding composition 
might be extended to include nearly any inelastic sub- 
stance which can be sufficiently softened to receive an 
impression from type or cuts with a reasonable degree 
of pressure. At this writing admirable results are 
being obtained from pure lead under the name of the 
Doctor Albert process, a description of which will be 
found in another chapter. However, there is no mate- 
rial which, for general work, equals in popularity pure 
ozokerite or ozokerite mixed with a little beeswax. 
Freedom from lumps, fiber or grain insures a perfect 
medium for the production of the finest lines and 
shades of engraving. It may be easily softened by 
heat to the degree most suitable for molding and will 
not perceptibly shrink in cooling or recover its form 
after receiving an impression. Moreover it takes black- 
lead readily, is unabsorbent and may be used over and 
over innumerable times. In this age of adulterations 
it is not always easy to obtain pure wax, but most 
adulterations may be detected. The materials which 
are most commonly mixed with wax are paraffin, resin 
and tallow, and the presence of these substances may 
be suspected if the fracture is smooth instead of 

To prepare wax for molding it should be melted in 
a steam-jacketed kettle and heated for several hours to 


expel all the moisture. About ten per cent of crude 
turpentine and five per cent blacklead should then be 
added and thoroughly incorporated. Having been thus 
prepared the wax is dipped out and poured through a 
strainer upon some shallow trays of brass or other 
metal and allowed to cool. These trays, or cases, are 
sometimes made of brass plates of a convenient size 
with the edges raised about one-fourth of an inch so as 
to form a shallow pan. Such cases are, however, quite 
expensive and entirely unnecessary, as a perfectly flat 
plate made of electrotype backing metal will serve the 
purpose even better than brass, for in the event of its 
becoming bent or warped it may be easily straightened 
by simply laying it on a flat surface and planing it 
down with a hammer and block. A raised edge may be 
obtained by surrounding the case with wood or metal 
strips of suitable height. It is customary to place the 
cases on a stone or iron table large enough to accom- 
modate several at the same time and located within 
convenient distance of the wax-melting pot. When a 
stone table is employed for the purpose it should be 
very thick, not less than five or six inches, in order 
that it may quickly absorb the heat from the cases and 
thereby facilitate the cooling of the wax, otherwise 
much time would be consumed in waiting for the wax 
to set sufficiently to stand handling. Even a heavy 
stone table, unless of extraordinary size, will not cool 
cases fast enough when the volume of work is consid- 
erable, and under such conditions it is advisable to 
employ a hollow iron table provided with water and 
waste connections so that a circulation of cold water 
may be maintained and the time required to cool the 


cases reduced to the minimum. Such a table may have, 
permanently secured to its surface a strip of iron, 
three-eighths of an inch thick, extending entirely 
around the outside edge. The flat cases, about one- 
eighth of an inch thick, are then laid on the table and 
wax poured on them until it reaches the height of the 
^-inch strips. The cases may be separated, if desired, 
by strips of wood. After the wax has set, the cases 
are cut out with a knife and removed from the table, 
and the residue returned to the kettle. The iron table 
may be made still more effective by providing it also 
with steam connections, for it often happens on a cold 
morning that the table is too cold to cast perfect cases, 
and considerable time is consumed in producing the 
proper temperature by outside influences. In pouring 
the wax on the cases it is always advisable to strain it 
and thereby insure the exclusion of all dirt or foreign 
matter which may have found its way into the melting 
kettle. Immediately after pouring, a straight-edge or 
wire should be drawn over the surface of the cases to 
remove any air bubbles which may have formed. Any 
bubbles which do not yield to this treatment may be 
lightly touched with a gas flame. Neither wax nor com- 
position material can be used for molding until some 
time after it has been cast in cases, or until it has had 
time to cool, and it is therefore the practice to cast 
cases several hours in advance of the time they will be 
required for use. 

Molding presses operated by steam or hydraulic 
power are usually provided with devices for indicating 
the depth of impression made in the wax, or with auto- 
matic stops for shifting the belt when the impression 


has reached a predetermined depth. Such devices are 
effective only when the wax cases are all of the same 
thickness and of imiform temperature. The tempera- 
ture of the wax determines its degree of plasticity, and 
the suitable degree is indicated when the wax will yield 
under pressure of the thumb. The ability to judge the 
correct temperature comes with experience, and can be 
acquired in no other way. 

By exercising due care to fill the cases level with 
the bearers which surround them, the waxcaster may 
produce cases reasonably uniform as to thickness ; but 
to insure absolute accuracy they should be passed 
through a wax-shaving machine, which not only in- 
sures uniformity but also removes any dirt or dust 
which may have become attached to the wax while in 
a liquid or semi-liquid state. 

When wax cases are cast several hours in advance 
of their use and have become cold and brittle, it is 
necessary, before molding, to restore them to a plastic 
condition, as any attempt to mold in cold wax would be 
not only dangerous alike to press and form, but would 
inevitably result in failure. The wax is sometimes 
softened by laying the cases on a steam-heated table, 
such as is illustrated in Fig. 8, first placing some strips 
of wood on the table to protect the back of the case 
from excessive heat. Unless so protected, the wax 
next the case would become much softer than the face,' 
and the result of molding from a case thus unevenly 
heated would almost certainly be concaved faces in the 
reproduced type and cuts. Even when great care is 
observed in warming the cases, it sometimes happens 
that this defect occurs in the electrotype, and for this 



reason as well as to avoid delay it is advisable to keep 
the cases in a box moderately heated by steam or hot 
air where they will be gradually brought to nearly 
the proper temperature for molding. They will then 
require an exposure of but a few moments on the 
steam table to make them sufficiently plastic. Instead 

Fig. 8. 
Electrotypers' Wax Kettle and Table. 

of a box, a number of pigeonholes may be constructed 
about two feet above the steam table in such a manner 
that the cases may rest on their edges in a vertical 
position, and the hot air arising from the steam table 
permitted to circulate between them. 

Having warmed the case until the wax will take an 


impression of the thumb, it is given a thorough coating 
of molding graphite, which, when properly applied, 
prevents the wax from spreading. Graphite should 
also be applied to the form, rubbing it in thoroughly 
with a brush in order to prevent the type or cuts from 
adhering to the wax. 

The form is now placed on the apron of the mold- 
ing press and the case inverted upon it, or if the form 
is small the operation may be reversed and the form 
inverted upon the case. In either event two or three 
sheets of heavy strawboard should be placed between 
the back of the case and the press to prevent too sud- 
den chilling of the wax. Having been thus prepared, 
the form and case with its strawboard backing are slid 
under the head of the molding press and pressure 
applied until sufficient depth of impression has been 
obtained in the wax, when the form and mold should 
be carefully separated and examined. 

It will sometimes be found necessary to take a sec- 
ond impression in order to obtain a perfect mold, and 
in such cases it is obvious that the utmost care must be 
exercised to prevent a doubled impression. To provide 
for such contingencies, forms which are to be electro- 
typed should be imposed in such a manner as to leave 
an opening between the sections of furniture at two of 
the corners of the chase, that the molder, when setting 
the form the second time, may accurately locate the 
first impression. 

When a large number of duplicates are required 
from one form it is customary to prepare a sufficient 
number of electrotype patterns to fill a chase and there- 
after mold from the patterns instead of the original 


form. When the patterns are carefully prepared no 
building- will be required on the molds, and much of 
the labor of finishing will also be saved. 

The operation of the molding press is sufficiently 
explained by the illustrations Figs. 9 and 10. With 
the exception of the hydraulic press the principle by 

Fig. 9. 
Electrotypers' Hand Molding Press. 

which pressure is applied is the same in all molding 
presses — a toggle joint operated by a screw. In the 
hand press the screw terminates in a hand wheel whose 
spokes extend beyond the rim of the wheel to provide 
a convenient means of applying power. The screw in 
a power press terminates in a large gear wheel which 
is engaged by a pinion driven by steam power. 

70 . Ki.iarrkoTvi'iNc. 

The press illustrated in Fig. lo is provided with an 
indicator consisting of a finger and graduated dial, by 
means of which uniformity in depth of impression may 
be obtained. The indicator is particularly useful when 
two or more impressions are required, for, having 
noted the location of the finger on the dial plate at the 

Fig. io. 

Electrotypers' Power Molding Press. 

completion of the first impression, it is an easy matter 
to determine the depth of the second. 

In connection with the operation of the molding 
press mention may be made of a fact not always recog- 
nized by molders, which is, that the greatest power 
exerted by a toggle joint occurs just before the toggles 


reach a perpendicular position. The amount of pack- 
ing placed under the case is sometimes so excessive 
that the toggles never reach the point of highest effi- 
ciency, and therefore more or less power is unneces- 
sarily expended in producing the impression. While 
this is of no particular moment in the case of the steam 
press, except as it throws a heavy strain on the yoke, a 
proper adjustment of the packing would save consid- 
erable hard labor to the operator of the hand press. 




MOLDING a form or pattern naturally causes more 
or less displacement of wax, which is forced up 
around the edges of the form and between the cuts or 
type, or wherever there is an opening, however small. 
Before proceeding to metallize the mold, it is necessary 
that these displacements shall be cut down to a uniform 
level, for it would not only be difficult to metallize, by 
the usual methods, a mold whose surface consists of 
knobs and protuberances of uneven heights, but it 
would also be impossible to cast the electrotype plate 
within the limits of the thickness usually required for 
printing purposes, for every protuberance on the mold 
would necessarily involve a corresponding depression in 
the shell; and inasmuch as the shell must be backed 
with metal and entirely covered thereby, the thickness 
of the finished electrotype plate could not be less than 
the highest point of the shell. As a rule, electrotypes 
are made not more than one pica in thickness, and the 
lowest depression in the electrotype where blank spaces 
occur must obviously be somewhat less than a pica in 


For the purpose of cutting down the mold a wax 
knife (Fig. ii) of special design is employed. The 
mold and the knife should be warm, and the knife must 
be occasionally heated over a gas jet or stove. The dis- 
placed wax is removed by a shaving, outward cut of the 
knife, taking care not to cut too deep into the mold. 

Fig. II.— Wax Knife. 

The operation requires some practice, but is easily 
accomplished if the knife blade is kept warm ; other- 
wise there would be danger of breaking down, or dis- 
torting the walls of the cavities of the mold, in which 
case the later operation of blackleading or metallizing 
the mold would be rendered difficult if not impossible. 
Even a sharp, warm knife will leave the edges of the 
walls more or less ragged, but these edges may be ren- 
dered smooth and rounded by passing rapidly over the 
mold a lighted gas jet attached to a rubber hose. 

After the cutting-down process, the operator should 
go carefully over the mold with a sharp-pointed tool and 
pick out any shavings or particles of wax which may 
have become lodged in the indentations. 

The mold should now present a reasonably smooth 
surface, all the high places caused by displacement hav- 
ing been cut down to a uniform level, which leaves the 
indentations in the mold from ^^ to ^^ of an inch deep. 


If the mold has been made from a soHd type form, it 
may now be metaUized and prepared for the depositing 
vat; but if made from an open form, the blanks between 
the printing surfaces must be raised in order to produce 
a depression in the electrotype and thus eliminate all 
possibility of smutting in printing. Unless the blank is 
raised or built up in the mold, it would be necessary to 
deepen the depression in the electrotype by routing or 
chiseling, which is a much more expensive operation 
than building, particularly when a number of duplicates 
are required from one pattern. Building is an operation 
requiring a steady hand and a quick eye as well as a 
skill which comes from long practice. The tools em- 
ployed are a building iron (Fig. 12), a small gas stove 

Fig. 12.— Building Iron. 

and a strip of wax. The building iron is a smooth, 
cone-shaped block of copper, about two inches long, one 
inch in diameter at one end and tapering to a sharp 
point at the other, with a handle eight or ten inches in 
length inserted in the side. Several of these irons 
should be provided in order that while one is in use the 
others may be heating. To build up a blank in the 
mold, the operator takes a hot iron in one hand and a 
strip of wax in the other, and, holding the point of the 
iron over and close to the blank which is to be raised, 



touches the iron Hghtly with the strip of wax, which 
instantly melts and runs down the iron onto the mold. 
If the blank is large, the wax is held in contact with the 
iron while it is moved over the space back and forth 
until entirely covered and built up to the required height. 

Care must be -taken not to get the iron too hot, for 
in that case the wax would be made too thin and would 
not chill quick enough by contact with the mold, but 
would run off from the blank and into the indentations of 
the mold. It is always advisable to test the heat of the 
iron by running some wax onto the edges of the mold 
where no damage can result. Before blackleading or 
metallizing the mold it is also necessary to provide 
places of contact for the electrical connections.- This 
may be done in various ways. The simplest method is 
to provide two pieces of copper wire, about ts of an inch 
in diameter and six or seven inches longer than the case. 
One end of each wire should be turned over to form 
hooks by means of which the case may be suspended 
from the cross rods of the depositing vat. The wires 
are heated by dipping them in the metal pot or in any 
convenient manner, and are then laid on the case, one 
on each side of the mold, where they become embedded 
by melting a channel for themselves in the wax. 

Additional security is obtained by covering over the 
wires with wax by means of the building iron. This 
method of providing electrical connection with the mold 
is simple and reasonably secure, if the case is not too 
heavy ; but a better method consists in substituting for 
the wires strips of thin sheet copper from one-half to one 


inch in width. These strips are not designed to sustain 
the weight of the case, but simply to act as conductors, 
and for this purpose are superior to wires, because they 
assure a better contact with the cross rods. When this 
connection is employed, the weight of the case is sus- 
tained by S-hooks, one end of which is passed through 
a hole in the case, and the other end, which should be 
insulated, hooked over the cross rod. 

There are several other methods of making elec- 
trical connections with the molds which are valuable 
chiefly as time-savers. One of them is shown in the 
illustration. A piece of copper or brass is melted into 
the mold near the top and makes contact with a portion 
of the hook which suspends the case from the cross 
rod of the bath. 




THE utility of electrotyping in its early days was 
restricted to the reproduction of medals or other 
metallic objects which were conductors of electricity, 
but in 1840 Mr. Murray discovered that nonmetallic 
objects could be made conductive by applying to their 
surface a film of graphite (blacklead), and to this dis- 
covery is largely due the successful application of elec- 
trotyping to the copying and duplication of engravings 
and type forms. Only the purest grades of graphite 
containing from 95 to 99 per cent of carbon are used 
for metallizing. For this purpose it is ground to a 
seemingly impalpable powder, but under the microscope 
it is found to consist of minute flakes. To metallize or 
render conductive a nonmetallic object, it is essential 
that these flakes shall lie flat upon it like the scales of a 
fish, overlapping each other and forming a continuous 
and unbroken metallic covering for the object. Such a 
surface can be obtained only by brushing or otherwise 
forcing the flakes into the position described, which will 
incidentally give to the object a bright polish. Black- 
leading is sometimes accomplished by means of a pump 


or air blast, as will be hereafter described, but the usual 
method is to apply the graphite with a soft brush of 
camel's or badger hair, either by hand or with a black- 
leading machine. For blackleading by hand a camel' s- 
hair brush is preferred. With this instrument the 
graphite is brushed back and forth over the mold until a 
bright polish is obtained, and until it is certain that no 
spot, however small, has been neglected. If so much 
as a punctuation point fails to receive the proper polish, 
copper will not deposit thereon, and a hole in the shell 
will result. 

Blackleading by hand is a slow and disagreeable 
task, and is seldom practiced in American foundries, a 
blackleading machine being considered essential even 
in the smallest establishments. Fig. 13 illustrates a 
blackleader which is a type of the machines in general 
use at the present time. While there are variations in 
the mechanical movements of different machines, the 
essential features are a vibrating brush or brushes, and a 
reciprocating bed to carry the molds back and forth 
under the brushes. The apparatus is all inclosed in a 
tight box which confines and prevents waste of graph- 
ite. After the mold has been built up and prepared as 
previously described it is placed on the bed of the 
blackleader and covered thickly over with graphite. 
When the machine is started the molds travel slowly 
back and forth while the rapidly vibrating brushes soon 
effect the necessary polish. The time required to prop- 
erly blacklead a mold depends upon the nature of the 
work and the speed at which the brushes are operated. 



A mold of a type form requires considerable more 
brushing than a flat engraving because of the minute 

Fig. 13.— Blackleader. 

indentions made by the punctuation points, etc. With 
a double-brush machine running at about 600 revolu- 


tions per minute, a good polish is usually obtained in 
from five to ten minutes. 

A disagreeable feature of blackleading is the flying 
dust, which cannot be wholly confined and which even- 
tually covers everything in the molding room, including 
the workmen. This annoyance is minimized by the use 
of the inclosed blackleading machine but not entirely 
eliminated. On this account the wet process of black- 
leading is sometimes preferred. This method was 
invented and patented by Mr. Silas P. Knight in 1872. 
By this process the graphite is mixed with water to the 
consistency of thin cream and by means of a rotary force 
pump is discharged with considerable force upon the 
mold through a traveling rose nozzle, the entire appara- 
tus being confined in a water-tight box. In another 
form of wet blackleader the emulsion of graphite is 
forced over the mold by a paddle wheel which revolves 
in the liquid. The blades of the wheel consist of 
badger-hair brushes which come lightly in contact with 
the mold and assist in producing the necessary polish. 
The wet process is said to be entirely satisfactory, but 
for some reason has never come into general use. 

Various attempts have been made to perform the 

operation of blackleading by means of a blower or air 

blast, and several patents have been issued for machines 

with this design. Fig. 14 illustrates a machine which 

combines both the air-blast and brush features. Air 

from the pressure blower (on the floor, back of the 

machine) passes through tubes in the horizontal cylinder 

(above the machine) and is discharged through a narrow 



slot extending across the table and close to the mold ; 
water circulating outside the tubes reduces the tempera- 

FiG. 14.— Combination Blackleading Machine. 

ture of the compressed air, so the machine may be oper- 
ated continuously — even in the summer — without dan- 
ger of injury to wax molds. At the bottom of the 


machine there is a shallow drawer with a gauze bottom 
through which the air passes to the blower ; the gauze 
retains particles of wax and other substances likely to 
obstruct the free passage of air through the slot. How- 
ever, should the slot become clogged, by removing the 
plate on the front of the machine the workman can 
obtain access to the wind chest and may easily clear 
away any obstruction. By a glance at the mercury 
gauge, on the top of the machine, the operator can see 
whether the air pressure is as it should be. The brush, 
which is of badger hair, is located just back of the wind 
chest and actuated from a shaft supplied with a tight 
pulley, so, whenever desired, the brush may be stopped. 
The distance of the brush from the table is adjustable. 

In operation the workman lifts the cover, at front, 
which is held raised by a hook shown at the left side, 
lays the cases to be leaded on the table, which is 33 by 
22 inches, lowers the cover, and starts the machine by 
pulling the handle on the right until a pawl drops into a 
notch in the rod ; he then adjusts the stop motion so 
the table will make one, two or three trips forward and 
back; when these have been completed the pawl will be 
detached automatically from the rod, and the spring on 
the countershaft carry the belt on the loose pulley, stop- 
ping the machine. It is claimed by the manufacturers 
that a tableful of molds may be metallized in one 

After the mold has been blackleaded, it must be 
thoroughly freed from the loose graphite which would 
otherwise remain in the depressed portions, particularly 


in the smaller indentations made by punctuation points 
and leaders, and cause defective shells. The removal 
of the superfluous graphite may be effected by a hand 
bellows, but in large establishments a rotary fan opera- 
ted by power is sometimes employed. A still better 
method consists in taking the air through a tube from 
a reservoir in which it has been compressed by an air 
pump. By this method sufficient pressure to thor- 
oughly blow out the mold is assured. From such a 
reservoir additional tubes may be extended to the 
molding presses, and utilized to blow the loose graphite 
from the molds as may be necessary during the opera- 
tion of molding. 

By the process of blackleading, the case is rendered 
conductive over its entire surface, and should it be sus- 
pended in the bath without further preparation, it would 
receive a deposit of copper not only upon the mold but 
upon the margin of wax surrounding the mold, and 
upon the back of the case. To restrict the action of 
the current to the surface upon which a deposit is 
desired, the remaining portion is painted out with hot 
wax or varnish, or its conducting surface is destroyed 
by passing lightly over it a hot building iron. The 
conductivity of graphite is only .07 of one per cent as 
compared with pure copper, 100 per cent, and the 
action of the electric current on a blackleaded mold is 
therefore very slow until covered with a coating of cop- 
per, when deposition proceeds rapidly. To give the 
mold a better conducting surface than is provided by 
the graphite, and thus facilitate immediate action of the 


current over its entire surface, it is customary to precipi- 
tate a film of copper on the mold before placing it in 
the bath. This preliminary coating of copper is pro- 
duced by pouring on the mold a solution of sulphate of 
copper of about i6° Baum6, and covering it with a 
sprinkling of iron filings. With a badger-hair brush 
the filings are lightly distributed over the mold until 
thoroughly wet, when they take up the acid in the solu- 
tion, and the copper thus set free is precipitated in a 
bright film on the mold. If any portions of the mold 
fail to take the coating the operation is repeated. Par- 
ticular care is observed to avoid scratching the mold 
with the iron filings. 

Flat molds such as are made for the production 
of copper printing plates may be readily and effectively 
metallized by either of the methods previously described, 
but for the production of nickel electrotypes or the 
reproduction of irregular shaped objects such as stat- 
uary, or art work of various kinds having undercut or 
deep portions, recourse must be had to what is called 
metallizing by the wet way. While this class of work 
is not strictly in the line of commercial electrotyping 
it is sufficiently analogous to deserve mention. The 
processes to be described are recommended by such 
practical writers as Langbein, Urquhart and Watt. 
Gutta-percha or wax molds have their surfaces rendered 
conductible by the following plan : Take equal parts 
of albumen (white of egg) and a saturated solution of 
common salt, and apply the mixture to the object to be 
coated by means of a soft brush. Then dry the compo- 


sition thoroughly. Now make a strong solution of 
nitrate of silver and dip the mold into it for a few min- 
utes and dry again. Expose the mold to a strong light 
until it becomes quite black. The mold is then to be 
dipped into a saturated solution of sulphate of iron, 
when a layer of metallic silver will be formed upon 
which a deposit of copper may readily be obtained. 
The mold should be rinsed when taken from the sul- 
phate of iron solution and connecting wire attached to 
it, when it may at once be placed in the depositing bath. 

Another method of metallizing is as follows: Dis- 
solve a piece of phosphorus in two drams of bisul- 
phide of carbon, stir in two drams of benzine and a 
drop or two of sulphuric ether; pour the whole into 
half a pint of alcohol and wash the surface of the mold 
with this mixture twice, allowing it to dry after each 

The silver solution is made by dissolving one dram 
twenty grains of nitrate of silver in a mixture of half 
a pint of alcohol and one dram of acetic acid. The 
mold is thoroughly floated once with this solution and 
allowed to dry spontaneously. 

Another and simpler method of rendering the mold 
conductive may be described as follows : Dissolve phos- 
phorus in pure alcohol until a strong solution is 
obtained and wash the mold with the mixture. The 
silver solution is prepared by dissolving nitrate of 
silver in aqueous ammonia to saturation. It is to be 
poured evenly over the mold and allowed to float over 
it for a few minutes. The solution is poured off and 


the mold allowed to become partly dry, when it is again 
floated with the mixture. Spots that do not appear to 
take the solution readily should be wetted with it by 
means of a soft brush. 

Still another process is as follows: Apply with a 
brush upon the mold a not too concentrated solution of 
nitrate of silver in a mixture of equal parts of distilled 
water and ninety per cent alcohol. When the coat is 
dry, expose it in a closed box to an atmosphere of sul- 
phureted hydrogen. The latter converts the nitrate of 
silver into sulphide of silver, which is a good conductor 
of the current. For the production of the sulphureted 
hydrogen, place in the box, which contains the mold to 
be metallized, a porcelain plate or dish filled with dilute 
sulphuric acid (i acid to 8 water) and add five or six 
pieces of iron pyrites the size of a hazelnut. The 
development of gas begins immediately and the box 
should be closed with a well-fitting cover to prevent 
inhaling the poisonous gas; if possible, the work should 
be done in the open air or under a well-drawing chim- 
ney. The formation of the layer of sulphide of silver 
requires but a few minutes, and, if not many molds 
have to be successively treated, the acid is poured off 
from the iron pyrites and clean water poured upon the 
latter so as not to cause useless development of gas. 

For coppering leaves, plants, flowers, etc., dissolve 
five parts (by weight) of wax in five of warm oil of 
turpentine, and add to the solution a mixture of five 
parts of phosphorus, one of gutta-percha and five of 
asphalt in 120 bisulphide of carbon. When both are 


thoroughly mixed, add to the whole a solution of four 
parts (by weight) of guncotton in sixty of alcohol and 
sixty of ether, and, after a thorough shaking, allow to 
settle. The next day pour off the clear solution from 
the sediment, when the solution can at once be used. 
A French process for metallizing leaves, etc., con- 
sists in immersing them in iodized collodion composed 
of forty per cent alcohol, 40 cubic centimeters; ether, 
60 cubic centimeters; potassium iodide, i gram; gun- 
cotton, I gram. Allow the leaves, etc. , to dry so that 
a firmly adhering layer is formed; then immerse them 
in a solution of ten parts (by weight) of nitrate of sil- 
ver in 100 of water, whereby a layer of iodide of silver 
is formed. Now expose the article thus treated for 
some time to the light, and then immerse it in the 
reducing fluid consisting of water, 500 parts; green 
vitriol, 25 parts, and acetic acid, 25 parts. The reduc- 
tion of silver proceeds rapidly and the articles are soon 
ready for coppering. Instead of the iodized collodion, 
a mixture of equal parts of white of egg and solution 
of common salt may be used. 




THE electrodes and all connections between the 
dynamo and the molds or anodes should be of 
copper and should be amply large to conduct, without 
heating, the strongest current practicable to use in the 
depositing process. It should be remembered that the 
generation of the electric current requires power, and 
that a portion of the power is always expended in over- 
coming resistance, and is, so far as its effect on the work 
is concerned, wasted. It is obvious, therefore, in the 
interest of economy, that due precaution should be 
observed to provide both in the conductors and in the 
bath a path of minimum resistance. A barrel of water 
would run out of an inch bunghole in a very few min- 
utes, while it would take a tremendous pressure to force 
the same quantity of water in the same time through a 
gimlet hole. In the same way a current of several 
hundred amperes will flow readily through a large rod, 
when the attempt to force the same current through a 
small wire would result in overheating the wire and the 
dynamo, with a consequent waste of power. ' ' The 
development of heat in the conductors or the solution is 
proportional to its resistance and is proportional to the 


square of the strength of the current. Hence, the 
development of heat will be the greater, the smaller the 
cross-section of the conductor and its conducting capac- 
ity are, and the larger the quantity of current which 
passes through it." 

The size of the conducting rods required for electro- 
typing depends, therefore, on the quantity of current to 
be employed at one time, which may be estimated with 
sufficient accuracy by multiplying the area of the cath- 
odes in square feet by the number of amperes required 
to deposit one square foot at the maximum practicable 
rate. Curiously enough there is a wide divergence of 
opinion among authorities as to the quantity of current 
which may be advantageously employed. V. Hiibl 
gives the maximum as 36 amperes with an agitated solu- 
tion. Sprague and Watt place the maximum at 37 
amperes, while other writers claim that from 75 to 100 
amperes may be employed. It is probable, however, 
that the latter estimates are made without considerations 
of economy. It would no doubt be possible to employ 
100 amperes, but at a tremendous waste of power in 
overcoming the resistance due to polarization, which 
increases " at a rate approaching that of the square 
root of the current. " It is probable that 50 amperes 
per square foot cannot be exceeded, if consideration be 
given to economical working. 

Depositing vats vary in dimensions, and for that 
reason a conducting rod which would be of ample 
capacity in one case would be too small in another. 
Inasmuch as the difference in the cost between a small 


rod and a large one is inconsiderable, it is always wise 
to err on the side of safety. The text-books recom- 
mend a cross-sectional area in the conductor of one 
square inch for each 500 amperes, and in practice, rods 
of this size have been found to be of ample capacity. 
The resistance of a conductor is proportional to its 
length as well as to its cross-sectional area, and this rule 
applied to electrotyping means that the dynamo should 
be located in the immediate neighborhood of the depos- 
iting vats. For the purpose of conducting the current, 
the cross rods, i. e., the rods from which the anodes and 
molds are suspended, do not usually require to be more 
than one-fifth the size of the main conductors, but inas- 
much as it is their province to sustain the weight of the 
heavy anodes they should not be less than one-half inch 
in diameter. 

Less trouble will be found in making good connec- 
tions if the main conducting rods are rectangular in 
shape, as in that case the cross rods which rest upon 
them will have a larger area of contact surface, particu- 
larly if the ends are slightly flattened. If the main 
conductors are round, the ends of the cross rods should 
be not only flattened but curved to fit over the larger 
rods, and thus insure a good contact. The anodes are 
usually suspended in the solution by two copper hooks, 
which should be large enough to transmit the current 
without becoming sensibly heated — say three-eighths of 
an inch in diameter. These hooks, like the cross rods, 
should be flattened and curved in order to insure ample 
contact surface. Undoubtedly the best method of 


suspending the anodes is to drill and tap holes in the 
ends and screw the suspending hooks into them. This 
makes a perfect connection, and will remain as long as 
the anodes last. 

It has been frequently noted that electrotypers do 
not always appreciate the importance of making good 
connections. It is of no avail to provide large conduct- 
ing rods and cross rods if the conducting capacity of 
the rods is to be choked off at the point of connection, 
which is what occurs when one round rod is laid across 
another round rod. It should be plainly obvious that 
unless one or both of the rods are flattened where they 
come in contact, the area of the contact will be extremely 
limited compared with the area of the conductors on 
both sides of the contact. It is hardly necessary to say 
that all contact points should be kept clean and bright. 
A neglected rod will soon become corroded, and corro- 
sion increases resistance and is a frequent cause of heat. 

It should not be forgotten that the solution is a con- 
ductor of the current in the same sense that the rods 
are, and should be considered in that capacity as well 
as a dissolving medium. Pure sulphate of copper solu- 
tion is an extremely poor conductor. The addition of 
sulphuric acid improves its conductivity, but under the 
most favorable conditions its resistance is several million 
times greater than copper. To reduce this resistance 
to a point where the solution will not become appreci- 
ably heated by the passage of a strong current it' is 
necessary to provide an exceedingly large area of con- 
ducting fluid and to suspend the anodes and cathodes 



as near together as possible, say two to three inches 
apart. According to Joule's law, previously quoted, 
the development of the heat will be the greater the 
smaller the cross-section of the conductor and its con- 
ducting capacity are, and the larger the quantity of 
current which passes through it. If, therefore, it is 
desired to employ a very strong current, the vats must 
be larger in proportion to the size of the anodes than 
would be necessary with a moderate current. It is safe 
to say that the cross-sectional area of the solution should 
be at least double the area of the anodes. 




WHEN a mold has been metallized by the dry 
graphite method, and before proceeding to 
strike it (i. e., precipitate on its surface a preliminary 
coating of copper to render it more conductive), it is 
essential that the air shall be expelled from its surface 
by thoroughly wetting it, otherwise the mold when first 
immersed in the bath will be apt to repel the liquid, and 
the film of air retained on its surface will partially insu- 
late the mold and cause holes in the shell. Wetting 
may be accomplished by pouring over the mold a small 
quantity of alcohol or wood spirits. A more economical 
method consists in placing the mold face up on a shelf 
in a tank partially filled with water in such a manner 
that it will rest an inch or two under the surface, and 
then by means of a rotary pump and a rose nozzle 
direct a stream of water upon it. In some foundries 
graphite is mixed with the water, in which case the 
apparatus becomes an auxiliary blackleader and aids 
in the metallization of the mold. 

After wetting and striking the mold it should be 
immediately suspended in the bath from one of the rods 
connected with the negative pole of the dynamo or bat- 


tery. It will be recalled that the current enters the 
bath through the positive electrode and leaves it 
through the negative. It is obvious, therefore, that 
were the mold suspended from the positive rod no 
action would result. 

The anodes are solid plates of rolled copper of any 
convenient thickness, but they should have as nearly as 
possible the same area of exposure as the cathodes. If 
the anode be much smaller than the cathode the deposit 
will be brittle and the solution become impoverished. 
If the anode should be much larger than the cathodes 
copper will be dissolved faster than it is deposited, 
increasing the density of the solution and resulting in 
streaks on the back of the electrotype and the forma- 
tion of uneven deposits. 

Holes in the shell are usually due to defective black- 
leading or failure to expel the air from the mold by 
thorough wetting. In some instances, however, they 
are caused by hydrogen bubbles. The remedy for the 
latter evil is to decrease the current strength or pass a 
camel' s-hair brush lightly over the mold several times 
during the time it is in the bath, or, better yet, agitate 
the solution. 

The mold should be examined after it has been in 
the bath a few minutes, and if any dark spots are 
observed it should be at once removed and a solution 
of graphite and water, or, better yet, graphite and alco- 
hol, should be thoroughly rubbed into the defective 
spots. The mold should then be rinsed under a strong 
head of water applied through a spray nozzle and 


returned to the bath. On no account should the mold 
be allowed to dry while out of the bath. 

The anodes should, of course, be suspended from 
the positive pole of the dynamo, and it is evident that 
only one anode need be provided for each pair of 
cathodes, for, to maintain an equal area of exposure, 
a mold should be placed on each side of the anode. 

If the baths are arranged in series, which is the most 
economical method of working, the total number of 
molds should be divided as evenly as possible between 
the vats to insure an equal rate of deposition. 

The copper sulphate solution requires little attention 
as a rule, because the proportions of its ingredients may 
be quite widely varied without materially affecting the 
quality of the deposited copper, and, on the other hand, 
the current strength may also be varied and the quality 
of the production still remain satisfactory; but, notwith- 
standing these facts, it is possible to make the solution 
too rich or too poor in metal, or too weak or too strong 
with acid, and the current density may be too great to 
work in harmony with the solution. Very often a 
defective shell may result from one of two or three 
causes. It is, therefore, sometimes necessary to experi- 
ment a little in order to determine the exact cause of 
the trouble. For instance, a sandy, pulverulent deposit 
may be caused by an excess of current, or it may be 
caused by an excess of metal in the solution, or both. 
A brittle deposit will be caused by a weak current, or a 
solution poor in metal, or both. But if the electro- 
typer be provided with an accurate voltmeter it is a 



comparatively easy matter to locate the cause of the 
trouble, for if the instrument indicates a current of suit- 
able tension for a properly proportioned solution, it may 
be assumed that the cause of the defective deposits will 
be found in the bath and may be removed by enriching 
or diluting the solution as may be indicated by the char- 
acter of the deposited copper. 

Under ordinary conditions of current and solution, 
the molds should be separated from the anodes by a 
distance of about two inches; but if it is found that the 
deposit is very dark in color or granulated in texture, 
this distance may be increased, thereby increasing the 
resistance of the solution, which is equivalent in its 
effect to cutting down the current strength. 

After working a few hours the anodes become more 
or less coated with slime, consisting of impurities and 
small quantities of foreign metals, which are always 
present to a greater or less extent in rolled copper. To 
remove the slime, which has the effect of partially insu- 
lating the anodes, they should be removed from the 
bath once every day and thoroughly scrubbed and 
rinsed with clean water. 

When molds are removed from the bath the anodes 
should always be disconnected from the dynamo, as 
otherwise copper would be dissolved into the solution, 
thereby unduly increasing its density. 

The length of time required to deposit a shell of 
given thickness depends on the current - strength em- 
ployed and the condition of the solution and connec- 
tions. According to Gore, a current density of 17.94 


amperes per square foot will deposit .001 inch of copper 
per hour; 35.88 amperes will deposit .002 per hour, and 
so on. Having ascertained the current-strength avail- 
able there would be no difficulty in calculating the time 
necessary to obtain a deposit of any required thickness 
provided it were certain that no variation in the current 
would occur, and that the connections would remain 
clean and in perfect contact, for having once ascertained 
the time required to deposit a satisfactory shell, it would 
be safe to assume that the same results would be obtained 
thereafter; but carelessness in the preparation of molds, 
as well as dirty rods or connections, sometimes delays 
the action of the current, and the electrotyper, after the 
calculated time, usually separates one corner of the shell 
from the mold with a sharp-pointed tool, and tests its 
thickness by bending it back and forth. This would 
seem to be a " rule-of-thumb ' ' method of working, but 
constant practice makes the workman so expert that he 
seldom makes a mistake. In establishments where the 
volume of work is large, it is customary to provide time 
tags which may be attached by clothes pins or other 
devices to the molds or cross-rods. When the mold is 
suspended in the bath, a tag is attached on which is 
written the hour it is due to come out. In this way the 
electrotyper is enabled to keep tab on his work and 
avoids waste of time in testing work which has been 
insufficiently exposed; for while it sometimes happens 
that a longer time is required to deposit a shell than 
would be indicated by the voltmeter or ammeter, it never 
takes less than the time so indicated. 


The electrotypers' sink should be of ample dimensions 
and should be provided with an unlimited supply of hot 
and cold water. The cold water faucet should be a hose 
bib, to which should be attached a short piece of hose 
terminating in an adjustable nozzle, to provide either a 
spray or a strong stream of water as circumstances may 
demand. The hot water should be kept in a tank at 
one end of the sink, from which it may be dipped as 
needed. One end of the sink should be provided with 
a hinged apron to protect the operator and the floor 
from the spray when using a strong head of water such 
as is necessary in washing out molds. 





ELECTROTYPERS' furnaces were formerly con- 
structed of brick with an iron kettle and face 
plate. These furnaces are, however, seldom seen now, 
the modern furnace (Fig. 15) being constructed of iron, 
lined with fire brick. It occupies less room than the old 
style furnace, is set up several inches from the floor to 
provide an air space underneath and thus minimize the 

Fig. 15.— ELECTROTYPERS' Furnace. 


danger from fire, and it may be moved from one place 
to another when desired without tearing it to pieces. 
The kettle is square or oblong in shape, for convenience 
in floating the backing pans, and is about six inches 

Fig. i6.— Leveling Stand. 

deep, A wide flange or shelf extends around the top 
of the furnace to provide a convenient resting place for 
the backing pans and body molds. The floor vmder 
the furnace and for some distance in every direction 
should be covered with heavy sheet iron, about No. i6 

The leveling stand (Fig, i6), upon which the back- 
ing pans rest while the cast is poured, is a light but 
substantial framework of iron, whose upper rails are 
provided with T-screws which may be so adjusted as to 



keep the pan always in a level position and thus insure 
a cast of uniform thickness. 

The backing pan (Fig. 17) is a plate of iron or steel, 
planed perfectly true and surrounded with a raised edge 
whose height determines the thickness of the cast. The 
pan is provided with handles to facilitate handling. 
Where the pans are large it is customary to handle 
them by means of a crane with an arm of sufficient 
length to swing them from the furnace to the leveling 

Fig. 17.— Backing Pan. 

stand. Backing pans should always be kept perfectly 
clean, and to that end should be scoured after each cast. 
Unless they receive proper attention in this respect they 
will soon become rusted and totally unfit for the purpose 
for which they are designed ; for to assure a perfect cast 
it is essential that the shell shall lie perfectly flat upon a 
smooth and level surface. 

Backing metal is composed of lead, tin and anti- 
mony. A popular mixture is lead 90 pounds, tin 5 
pounds, antimony 5 pounds. However, the proportions 
of tin and antimony are sometimes varied. Some elec- 
trotypers prefer 4 pounds of tin and 6 of antimony, 
and others 6 pounds of tin and 4 of antimony. The 


requirements are that the metal shall be soft enough to 
straighten easily under the hammer and punch, yet not 
so soft as to crush down on the press, and it must 
contain tin in sufficient quantity to insure perfect adhe- 
sion of the metal to the copper shell. 

Having deposited a shell of satisfactory weight, the 
mold is removed from the bath and placed in the sink 
in a slanting position. After cutting the connections, a 
small quantity of hot water is poured over the mold, 
beginning at the upper end and allowing it to flow 
down over every portion of its surface. The heat 
softens the wax and releases the shell, which should be 
carefully handled to prevent buckling or bending. 
After rinsing the shell in cold water it should be washed 
with hot potash to remove the film of wax which will 
still adhere to the copper. The shell may be placed on 
a slanting board over the lye kettle and scrubbed lightly 
with a soft brush, and then rinsed with potash and after- 
ward with clean water. Unless the shells are to be 
immediately backed up with metal, they should be 
placed in a shallow, lead-lined box partially filled with 
water slightly acidulated with sulphuric acid. If the 
shells are permitted to become dry they will tarnish and 
will not readily amalgamate with the backing metal. 

In order to effectually unite the backing metal to 
the shells it is essential that the back of the shell shall 
be perfectly clean, and that it shall be first covered with 
a coating of solder or with tin foil, which becomes 
solder when mixed with the lead in the backing metal. 
Tin foil may be purchased in rolls of any desired width 


and thickness. A convenient size is five or six inches 
in width and about .002 inch in thickness. 

To thoroughly clean the shell it should be brushed 
over with a solution of chloride of zinc, which may be 
prepared by dissolving scraps of sheet zinc in muriatic 
acid to saturation and adding twenty-five per cent pure 
water. The zinc should be dissolved in a wide-mouthed 
bottle in the open air, as the fumes given oflf are disa- 
greeable and poisonous. The zinc solution may be 
applied with a bristle brush, and the operation may 
preferably be performed on a glass-topped table or on 
a sheet of heavy plate glass placed on the workbench. 
Glass is preferred because it is not affected by acid and 
may be easily kept clean. 

After cleaning with the tinning solution the shell is 
covered with tin foil and placed face down in the back- 
ing pan, which has been previously heated by floating 
it in the molten metal, whose temperature should be 
sufficiently high to scorch a piece of white paper with- 
out burning it. The tin will almost immediately melt 
and cover the shell with a thin coating. If preferred, 
the shell may be placed on an iron plate heated by gas 
instead of in the backing pan, the object being to melt 
the tin foil on the shell. After the tin is melted the 
backing pan should be immediately transferred to the 
leveling stand and the shells covered with molten metal, 
pouring it on slowly from a small ladle and holding the 
shell down with a stick or any convenient instrument if 
it shows any inclination to rise to the surface of the 


To expedite cooling of the cast a small blower may 
be placed on the floor under the leveling stand in such 
a manner that a stream of air may be directed against 
the bottom of the pans. 

A device which is sometimes employed in connection 
with the backing-up process and which is claimed to 

Fig. 19. 

accomplish a material saving of time and labor is illus- 
trated in Fig. 19. The description is taken from the 
circular of the manufacturer. 

The apparatus is designed to flatten the plates by 
pressure after the metal has been poured and before it 
has set and hardened. The process differs but little 


from that hitherto employed, the new feature being 
the application of pressure, whereby much of the ham- 
mering and finishing is obviated. 

The press has been so designed as to make it thor- 
oughly efficient and convenient, many suggestions from 
experienced electrotypers being embodied in its con- 
struction. Its operation is very simple, presenting no 

When the pan is lifted out of the metal pot the 
metal that adheres to the bottom of the pan is scraped 
off by a steel scraper attached to the front end of the 
press. On the inner sides of the frame of the press 
are rollers, seven on each side, upon which the pans 
move easily and quickly. The pan is set on the rollers 
on the front of the press and the shell backea as usual. 
Air is blown on the bottom of the pan from a pipe 
underneath, and on the metal from a pipe above, the 
object being to cool the cast evenly as well as quickly. 
When the metal has commenced to set, a sheet of thick 
asbestos, covered with powdered chalk or blacklead, is 
laid on top of it and the pan rolled under the platen. 
The blast is then turned on the bottom of the pan 
under the platen. The rollers under the platen are on 
springs, and depressed by the pressure on the pan until 
the pan rests on supports underneath. The asbestos 
and the rollers being elastic, the pressure is gradual and 
easy. The pan remains under pressure till the next 
one is ready, and is then pushed out to the back of the 
press and taken off. The blast pipes underneath are 
supplied with the press and provided with dampers. 



They are so arranged that connection can be made with 

the pipe from the blower on either side of the press. 

Electrotypes are usually mounted on wooden blocks 

to make them "type high," but for certain purposes it 

Fig. 20. 

is desirable to mount them on metal bases, as, for 
instance, half-tone cuts and matter which is to be 
stereotyped, such as advertising cuts for daily news- 
papers. For the latter purpose electrotypes are made 
in standard widths, i. e. , single, double or triple column. 
The electrotype, after it has been backed up and 
straightened, may be tacked or soldered to metal bases 
which have been previously trimmed and shaved to the 
proper dimensions, but better results are obtained both 
in appearance and security by casting the base directly 



on to the plate by placing the electrotype face down in 
an iron mold and pouring molten metal on the back. 
The cover of the mold is provided with corrugations 
which form depressions in the metal, thus effecting a 
saving in material and at the same time producing a 
cast both light and strong and more easily handled 
than a solid metal cast. 

Figs. 20 and 21 illustrate respectively a body mold 
and a section of a cast made therein. The bottom 
plate of the mold on which the electrotype rests is not 

Before making a cast all parts of the mold are 
floated in the metal pot until they are of uniform tem- 
perature with the metal. With a pair of pincers or 
tongs the bottom plate is then withdrawn from the metal 
and placed on two supporting blocks, one under either 
end, one of which is slightly higher than the other, so 
that the plate will have a pitch of about one-half inch. 
The frame of the mold is then laid on the bottom plate, 
the electrotype placed inside, the cover adjusted and the 


different parts clamped together with two iron haind 
clamps. The cover is somewhat shorter than the frame, 
which leaves an opening at the upper end to receive the 
metal. The temperature of the mold is sufficient to 
soften the backing of the electrotype, so that the new 
metal, which is poured slowly and cautiously, readily 
amalgamates with it. Having filled the mold, the cast 
may be cooled by swabbing the mold with cold water. 
As the metal cools it shrinks and more metal must be 
continually added until the cast is set. 

Electrotype body molds are made in several standard 
sizes, from 6 to 41 picas in width and about 14 inches 
long. Electrotypes wider than 41 picas are cast in 
adjustable molds, an illustration of which is shown in 
Fig. 22. In such a mold electrotypes from one-half to 
four columns in width may be cast solid or cored. 
Eight cores of different sizes are usually provided, 
suitable for different kinds of work. 

In some foundries the mold is cooled after the cast 
has been poured by partially immersing it in a tank of 
water. When employing this method it is important 
that the cooling shall be effected gradually, otherwise 
uneven shrinkage would result and the electrotype be 
injured or destroyed. A convenient means of handling 
the molds is by means of a small derrick which may be 
locked in any desired position and thus permit the grad- 
ual immersion of the mold in the water. 

After the shell has been backed up, the cast is taken 
to the scrubbing trough and thoroughly cleaned with 
kerosene and powdered pumice stone applied with a 



moderately stiff brush, and finally polished and dried 
with soft sawdust. Great care should be observed in 
cleaning half-tones, as a slight scratch is sufficient to 
ruin them. 

The backing pan will usually accommodate several 
shells, and after they have been cast and cleaned the 

next operation is to saw the different jobs apart that 
that they may be separately straightened and finished. 
For this purpose an iron saw table is employed, of which 
Fig. 23 is an illustration. The mandrel is driven by a 
countershaft and pulleys which are furnished with the 



machine. The rear end of the table is hinged to the 
frame of the machine; the front rests on the end of 
a screw, terminating in a hand wheel, by means of 
which the top may be adjusted to any desired height for 
sawing mortices, etc. An adjustable side gauge and a 
sliding end gauge are necessary features if the saw is to 

Fig. 23. 


be used for general work, and a glass saw guard for 
protecting the eyes of the operator from flying chips 
and sawdust is also essential. 

Saw blades for cutting electrotype metal should have 
about the same temper as for sawing wood, and should 
not be of greater diameter than the nature of the work 
demands. A large saw is liable to wind and warp, while, 
on the other hand, if it projects but slightly through 
the work this tendency will be minimized. The diam- 
eter of the saw must depend, of course, upon the dis- 
tance between the saw mandrel and the table top. For 
instance, if the saw mandrel is three inches below the 
top of the table, a nine-inch saw would be required to 
give sufficient cutting surface above the table and allow 
for a reasonable amount of wear. In most machines, 
however, the mandrel is located within two and one-half 
inches from the top, or even less, thus permitting the 
use of smaller blades. For general use a cross-cut saw, 
eight inches in diameter. No. i8 or 19 gauge, and with 
about five points to the inch, is found most practical and 
convenient. Such a saw should be driven about 4,000 
revolutions a minute. 

To cut freely without sticking or filling up, saws 
should be kept sharp, round, evenly set, and the teeth 
should be filed all with the same angle and without 
hook. To keep the saw round, it should be jointed 
occasionally by elevating the table top until only the 
longer teeth of the saw project through the slot in the 
top, when they may be ground down with a piece of 
emery stone to uniform length. If the saw mandrel fits 


perfectly the hole in the saw and no more filing is done 
than is necessary to bring the teeth to a point, a perfect 
circle will by this method be obtained. 

The saw may be set by laying it on a block of hare- 
wood and striking every alternate tooth with a hammer 
or punch, and then turning it over and repeating the 
operation with the remaining teeth. It requires consid- 
erable skill, however, to set a saw evenly in this way, 
and it is preferable, particularly for the novice, to use a 
carpenter's saw set which may be purchased at any 
hardware store. 

To file a saw properly it should be clamped between 
two round blocks, about one inch thick and one inch 
less in diameter than the saw. The blocks may be 
clamped together on the saw by placing them in a vise. 
The saw should be filed straight across and should not 
hook or lean forward of a line drawn from the center of 
the saw to its periphery. 




THE duties of the electrotype finisher are to make 
the face of the electrotype perfectly flat and level, 
to repair defective letters, or cut them out and replace 
them with type; to repair defective rules, etc., and 
finally to bevel the edges of the plates if they are to 
be worked on patent blocks, or to mount them upon 
wooden or metal bases. 

The tools required to properly straighten an electro- 
type are a light hammer, with one round face, Fig. 24; 
a set of punches, Fig. 25; a pair of calipers. Fig. 26, 
and a rubber, Fig. 27. 

The first operation is to beat down the edges of the 
bearers surrounding the page or engraving with the 
hammer, after which the plate is laid face down on a 
smooth, steel-faced finishing block, and planed down 
with a block of wood and hammer to make it lie flat 
and solid. If any bad sinks are observed in the electro- 
type their exact location is marked on the back of the 
plate by means of the calipers. The plate is then again 
laid on its face on the finishing block, and with a suit- 
able punch the marked spot is driven down until it is 
flush with the surrounding matter. After the plate has 
been rough-finished and straightened it is taken to the 
rougher. Fig. 28, and a cut taken off the back, which 
reduces it to an approximately uniform thickness. 



As its name implies, the rougher was designed to 
take the first or rough cut ofT from the electrotype cast. 
Its chief utility consists in the fact that a large quan- 
tity of "metal may be removed at one operation. The 
electrotype rests face down upon a traveling bed, and 

Fig. 24. 

Fig. 25. 

is held down during the operation of planing by two 
spring rolls located one on either side of the track of a 
reciprocating cutter. The cutter is secured in a tool 
post which is arranged to slide on an arm extending 
over the bed and at right angles thereto. The cutter is 
actuated by a pitman, one end of which is connected 
with a stud on the cutter head and the other with a stud 



on the drive pulley. The bed is operated in one direc- 
tion by a worm, which is driven by a belt from a pulley 
on the drive shaft, and is reversed by hand. 

Fig. 26. 

While the machine was originally intended for rough 
work, yet if carefully constructed it can be made to per- 
form its duty so accurately that no further planing or 
shaving is necessary, and in many foundries it takes the 
place of the shaving machine. 

An improved type of rougher has an adjustable 
shaving knife located just back of the reciprocating 
cutter, which frees the plate from the metal chips which 

Fig. 27. 

become imbedded in the plate by passing under the 
spring roller, and which would otherwise have to be 
removed with a file or scraper. The shaver knife also 
removes the tool marks left by the rougher, and gives 
the plate a finished appearance. 



After the electrotype has been roughed it is taken 
back to the finishing block and carefully examined. 
Every minor defect is then remedied and necessary 
corrections made. 

To more readily detect the low spots in the plate, 
the face of the electrotype is lightly rubbed over with a 
rubber ink eraser, mounted on a block of wood, or with 
a piece of fine emery paper stretched over a block. 
Those portions of the electrotype which do not receive 
a polish from this treatment are obviously low, and after 
locating them on the back of the plate with the aid of 

Fig. 28. 


the calipers, they are hammered or punched up to a 
uniform level. After each operation of hammering or 
punching, the electrotype is planed down and straight- 
ened, and again tested with the rubber, and these treat- 
ments are repeated until all the dark spots have been 

While the process of straightening an electrotype as 
thus described is very simple, it really calls for a high 
degree of mechanical skill, which can be acquired only 
by long practice. 

The electrotype having been straightened and re- 
paired, it is taken to the shaving machine for a final cut, 
which should reduce its thickness, if a book plate, to 
exactly ii points (small pica), this thickness having been 
adopted by the electrotypers' associations of America as 
a national standard for bookwork. If the plate is to be 
mounted on a wooden base it may be shaved somewhat 

Shaving machines are of various patterns and sizes, 
some operated by steam power and some by hand. The 
hand shaver consists of an iron table planed perfectly 
true upon its upper surface, and provided with a stop at 
one end to hold the plate in position. The side edges 
of the table are planed true, both top and bottom, and 
serve as guides for a sliding head to which the knife is 
bolted. Secured to the rear of the head and traversing 
the entire length of the machine are steel racks, one on 
either side, which are engaged by two pinions located 
on a shaft which is at right angles with the racks. To 
one end of the shaft a cast-iron spider is keyed, and to 
the spider long wooden spokes are bolted, which afford 
the means of operating the head. The head is provided 



with brass gibs, and the wear on the gibs may be taken 
up by means of set screws. 

In large establishments shaving machines are usually 
driven by steam power. There are various devices for 
applying the power, one of which is illustrated in 

Fig. 29, 

Fig. 29. The shaft and pinions acting on the racks 
are the same as in the hand machine. A large gear 
wheel is substituted for the spoke wheel on the main 
shaft and is driven by a pinion to whose shaft power 
is communicated through intermediate gearing by means 
of band wheels shown at the left of the machine. 



Nearly all shaving machines are provided with a 
spring roller located in front of and attached by brack- 
ets to the head. The purpose of the roller is to press 
the plate flat down on the bed of the machine just 
before the knife begins its cut. A plate which is slightly 
uneven or warped is thus secured against the danger of 
' ' go"gii^g> ' ' ^nd the necessity for planing or filing a 
bevel on the end of the plate is also obviated. 

Another type of shaving machine has a bed resting 
on steel wedges which are made adjustable by a screw 

Fig. 30 


passing through the front of the machine and terminat- 
ing in an indexed hand wheel. By means of this wheel 
the bed may be raised or lowered to any desired height 
within the range of the machine. 

Fig. 30 illustrates a machine which is of compara- 
tively new design and differs in many respects from 
other makes. The following description is given by 
the manufacturer: "The knife remains stationary, the 
plate to be shaved being placed on a table and passed 
under the knife. Power is applied to move the table 
in one direction only, the power being thrown on 
and off by a lever handle, not shown, convenient to 
the right hand of the operator. The backward move- 
ment is obtained by means of a hand wheel. The table 
is extended beyond the head toward the front of the 
machine, affording increased bearing surface and equaliz- 
ing the wear over all parts of its length ; the extended 
portion, is made slightly concave, on which plates may 
be bent so that they shall rest properly on the shaving 
table. At the front of the machine, on the left side, is 
an inverted plane, by which the plates may be beveled 
as is usual to prevent the too abrupt commencement of 
the shaving operation. ' ' 





ALL electrotype plates, whether job or book work, 
require to be trimmed on sides and ends. In 
the case of wood-mounted plates the trimming is done 
after they have been mounted on blocks, when plate 
and block may be finished at one operation. The cir- 
cular saw is unsuited for such work because of its 
tendency to spring away from the job, and because its 
cut is more or less ragged and uneven. 

Fig. 31. 

Various machines have been designed for the finish- 
ing of electrotypes, the simplest and least expensive of 
which is the shootboard, Fig. 31, which consists of an 


iron plate with a gutter or chute along one side in which 
a plane, furnished with an adjustable cutter blade, freely 
slides. A stop extending across the bed at right angles 
with the gutter serves as a rest for the electrotype and 
also as a guide for squaring the plate. The plane is 

Fig. 32. 

provided with two blades, one for making a square edge 
and one for producing a beveled edge such as is required 
on book plates. 

Fig. 32 illustrates a very convenient and efficient 
trimming machine, specially designed for finishing type- 
high or ' ' body ' ' work. A rapidly rotating arbor carry- 
ing a cutter head, in which are secured two or more 


cutting tools, is journaled in a substantial iron frame. 
The work is carried past the cutters on a reciprocating 
carriage which slides on ways parallel with the cutter 
head. The carriage is furnished with a right-angled 
adjustable gauge against which the work rests, which is 
adjusted by a finely threaded feed-screw, admitting of 
close and accurate work. The trimmer head should 
travel at a speed of about 3,500 revolutions per minute. 
To prevent the work from being drawn into the 
cutters and mangled it must be held securely on the 
carriage. Large and heavy pieces may be held by the 
fingers without danger, but the very small pieces, such 
as one, two or three line electrotypes, should be held 
by a lineholder, Fig. 33. The lineholder is an oblong 

Fig. 33. 

block of iron ten or twelve inches in length, two inches 
in width, and one inch high. A dove-tailed groove, 
extending the full length of the side face of the block, 
admits two thin serrated clamps, one of which is secured 
by means of a set screw at any desired distance from 
the end of the block, and the other is pivoted to the 
end of a lever which is operated by a handle on the 
top of the block. The under side of the block is 
recessed to receive a spiral spring which is attached to 


the lever and serves to hold the clamps firmly together 
upon the work. In operation the block is placed upon 
the carriage of the trimmer, the clamp jaws separated 
by means of the handle and the work inserted between 
them. On releasing the handle, the spring acting on 
the lever draws the clamps together. The work is thus 
securely held and may be trimmed without danger to 
the eyes or fingers of the operator, provided the line- 
holder itself be held firmly against the side gauge of 
the machine during the operation of trimming. It 
should be impressed upon the workman that whether 
trimming large or small pieces it is important that the 
carriage be kept free from chips. More accidents have 
been caused by carelessness in this regard than from all 
other causes combined. A chip or a small piece of 
metal under the work will cause it to chatter or rock 
when it encounters the cutters, with the result that the 
workman often loses control of it; and even if he 
is not injured by flying fragments his work will be 

Two kinds of cutters are used in trimming machines, 
one for trimming metal and the other for wood, or wood 
and metal combined, such as job or book plates mounted 
on cherry or mahogany blocks. The cutters should be 
made of Stubs' tool steel, hardened, and the temper 
drawn to a purple color. The holes in the cutter head 
are usually made round, in which case round steel of a 
size which will accurately fit the holes should be used 
for tools. The cutting ends of the metal cutters must 
be squared for at least a half inch back from the end — 
that is to say, there must be one right-angled corner to 
do the cutting. Fig. 34 is a side and end view of a 



metal cutter, and Fig. 35 illustrates a wood cutter or 

It sometimes becomes necessary to deepen the relief 
in an electrotype to prevent blacking or smutting the 
paper in printing. While this operation may be per- 

FlG. 35. 

formed with a mallet and chisel, it is always preferable 
to employ a router. Fig. 36. In this machine a rapidly 
revolving vertical spindle carries on its lower end a 
chuck in which may be secured cutting tools of various 
sizes suited to the nature of the work to be performed. 
The box in which the spindle turns is bolted to a handle- 
bar, one end of which serves as a handle for guiding the 
tool over the work, while the other end is pivoted to 
another handle-bar which is again pivoted to the frame 
of the machine. The double joints thus formed permit 
the tool to be moved freely in any direction over the 
bed of the machine. The second handle-bar is sup- 
ported at the elbow formed by pivoting together the 
two bars, by a steel segment, and the first handle-bar 



rests on a straightedge of hard wood extending the 
entire length of the machine. The ends of the hard- 
wood slide are supported by spring studs, which hold 

Fig. 36. 

the handle-bar carrying the spindle high enough from 
the table so that the cutting tool clears the work when 
not in operation. A pedal attached to a lever under- 
neath the machine affords a means of compressing the 
springs, thereby permitting the tool to enter the work. 


The tool spindle is adjustable in a vertical direction f:o 
provide for plates of different thicknesses, as when a 
change from type-high to plate work, or vice versa, is 
desired. This adjustment is obtained by means of a 
hand wheel attached to a threaded sleeve in which the 
spindle turns. The sleeve is provided with a feather to 
prevent its turning, so that a movement of the hand 
wheel in either direction raises or lowers the spindle. 
The work is held in screw clamps, which slide freely in 
dovetailed grooves planed in the bed of the machine. 
Power is transmitted to the tool spindle by a belt passing 
over idle pulleys at the corner of the machine. The 
pulleys at the pivotal points of the radial arms enable 
the operator to move the spindle freely in any direction 
without changing the tension of the belt. To perform 
smooth and rapid work router tools require to be driven 
at a high speed. For electrotype metal the speed 
should be about 12,000 revolutions per minute. A 
machine running so rapidly should, of course, receive 
careful attention. The bearings should be kept clean 

Fig. 37. 

and well oiled, and must not be permitted to become 
overheated. Router tools for general work are about 
the size of a lead pencil. For special work they 
may be made as small as one-sixteenth of an inch 
in diameter, and when large quantities of metal are to 
be removed, the size of the tool may be increased to 
one-half inch. The cutting end of the tool is made in 



the shape of a half moon, as shown in Fig. 37, the 
leading point being slightly longer than the heel, to pre- 
vent clogging. This tool is sharpened by grinding the 
end only, and may, therefore, be easily kept in order. 
Book plates, when finished ready for the press, are 
usually mounted on patent blocks, and are secured to 

Fig. 38. 


their bases by bevel clamps which lap over the edges of 
the plates. It is, therefore, necessary to provide a bev- 
eled edge for the plates. This work may be performed 
on a shootboard by using a suitable plane; but when a 
large number of plates are to be prepared, it is cus- 
tomary to employ a beveling machine — Fig. 38. This 
machine resembles a trimmer, but has an adjustable 
vertical shaft. It has a reciprocating carriage to carry 
the work past the cutters, is provided with gauges for 
the alignment of the work, and may be adjusted so as 
to produce either a rabbet or bevel, as may be desired. 




AFTER book plates have been straightened, shaved 
. and beveled, a proof is taken, and it sometimes 
happens that errors or omissions are then discovered 
which make changes and corrections necessary. Such 
changes may consist in some cases of only a single let- 
ter, while in others an entire line or paragraph may be 
involved. In the former case, the defective letters are 
punched out and type inserted in their places, and in the 
latter, the line or paragraph is set up and electrotyped, 
and after cutting out the defective portion of the plate 
the new piece is set in and soldered. The special tools 
required for this work consist of a set of punches and 
chisels and a pair of calipers, such as have been pre- 
viously described; a revising stick (Fig. 39), a blow 
pipe, a pair of cutting pliers, a soldering iron, some small 
flat files, and a light hammer. A complete set of chisels 
and punches consists of eight sizes, and corresponds 
with the different sizes of type in general use, namely: 
pica, small pica, long primer, bourgeois, brevier, minion, 
nonpareil and agate. The thickness of the tools corre- 
sponds with that of the letter i in the respective fonts. 
The revising stick may be made of a piece of print- 
ers' brass rule, six or more inches in length. To one 
edge and one end of the rule a strip of brass one-eighth 



of an inch square should be soldered, as shown in Fig. 
39. This makes a convenient, and in fact indispensable 
tool for holding a line of type while fitting it to the slot 
in the plate in which it is to be soldered. 

Fig. 39. 

A line gauge, Fig. 40, is employed for detecting 
errors of alignment between the inserted type and the 
remainder of the line, and is also employed for the 
alignment of newspaper headings or other jobs com- 
posed of capitals and lower-case letters. In trimming 
a line composed of a capital letter followed by several 
lower-case letters, the width of the block, of course, 

Fig. 40. 

must correspond with the width of the capital, and it is 
obvious that without a guide it would be difficult to 
trim the block so that the lower-case letters would all 
be at an equal distance from the top and bottom of the 
block. The same difficulty would occur in trimming 



any kind of a job requiring a margin above and below 
the matter. The Une gauge enables the operator to 
trim the edges of such jobs exactly parallel with the 
printing face, and is, therefore, an important and almost 
indispensable tool. When used in revising, the edge of 
the gauge is set in alignment with the line in which a 
correction is to be made. After the type has been 
inserted, and before it has been permanently secured by 
soldering, an application of the gauge will determine 
whether the alignment is perfect. 

The blowpipe is used for soldering in places which 
cannot be conveniently reached with a soldering iron. 
It consists of a Y of brass tubing, one of whose arms is 
connected by a rubber tube with the gas supply. By 
blowing in the other arm of the Y a stream of air is 
mixed with the gas. The point of flame may be 
directed and focused on any desired point, however 

Referring to Fig. 41, it will be observed that the 
cutting ends of the revising punches are provided with 
V grooves, which give to the tools two cutting edges, 

Fig. 41. 

thus admitting of a sharp, clean cut through the plate 
of just the size of the type which is to be inserted. In 
correcting a typographical error in a plate, the workman 
first marks with his caliper the exact location of the 


letter upon the back of the plate. With a small chisel 
a groove is then planed at the point marked by the 
caliper to the depth of about one-half the thickness of 
the plate, A punch of the proper size having been 
selected, the plate is turned over, face up, upon a block 
of wood, and with a sharp blow with the hammer the 
letter is punched out. Turning the plate over again, 
face down upon the finishing block, the type is inserted 
in the hole, and the contiguous metal crowded against 
it with a chisel until it is secured against dropping out, 
when the face is examined to see that the inserted type 
is in alignment with the remainder of the line and level 
with the surface of the plate. Care must also be 
observed to keep the type on its feet — that is to say, it 
must not lean from the perpendicular. The body of the 
type which has been left projecting through the hole is 
now cut off with the pliers level with the back of the 
plate, and the type secured in its position with a drop 
of solder. It is of course necessary to observe some 
care, otherwise there would be danger of melting the 
surrounding metal or the type itself After the type is 
secured the superfluous solder is removed with a chisel 
or file. 

When several consecutive letters are to be mserted 
in the plate, the hole made with the punch is enlarged 
with chisel and file to the size of the correction, and the 
type which has been previously set up in the revising 
stick is inserted and temporarily secured as before. 
Somewhat more skill is required to make a correction 
of this kind than to insert a single letter, as the slot 
must be kept parallel and in exact alignment with the 
remainder of the line, and this is a more difficult matter 


than to punch a single hole in the plate. When the 
slot has been made too large, as sometimes occurs, the 
type is aligned by crowding the contiguous metal against 
that side of the type which is above or below the 
line. When the type has been properly placed it is 
usually partially secured by soldering before cutting 
off the body; otherwise there would be danger of dis- 
turbing it. 

When the correction consists of several words or 
parts of lines, the matter is set up and electrotyped in 
the usual manner. The corrected piece so made is laid 
on the plate in the position it is to occupy, and with a 
graver or other sharp-pointed tool its exact outline is 
transferred to the plate. A hole is drilled in one corner 
and the defective portion of the plate cut out with a jig 
saw — Fig. 42. The correction is then inserted, the 
plate turned face down and a drop of solder applied to 
each of the four corners. During the operation of sol- 
dering, the plate and correction should be firmly held 
against the finishing block to prevent warping or spring- 
ing of the pieces, which might otherwise be caused by 
the heat of the iron. For this purpose the cutting pliers 
may be reversed, the end of one handle being used to 
hold the plate and the other the correction. 

A necessary part of the equipment of an electrotype 
foundry is a set of brass standards based upon the print- 
er' s universal unit of measurement, the pica. These 
standards should be twenty-six in number, ranging from 
one to twenty-six picas in length. The convenience of 
such standards will be apparent when it is remembered 
that all large type, such as is employed for newspaper 
headings, etc. , is made to occupy the space of a certain 



Fig. 42. 


number of lines of pica and is called 6-line type, 7-line 
type, etc. 

In addition to the pica standards, the electrotyper 
should have a type-high standard, preferably made of 
steel, about 2 by 3 inches in size and .919 of an inch 
thick. Such a standard is useful not only for testing 
finished work, but also for setting the knife of the shav- 
ing machine, for which purpose it is placed on the bed 
of the shaver and the knife screwed down until it will 
just touch it. 

Book plates are usually worked on patent blocks and 
should be shaved to exactly eleven points (small pica) 
in thickness. For testing this class of work a standard 
should also be provided. 




"DOOK plates are usually worked on patent blocks, 
^-^ with which every large publishing house is sup- 
plied. These blocks are made in some cases of wood, 
but preferably of iron, accurately finished and provided 
with clamping devices for securing the plate to the base. 
The best blocks are made in sections, and may be 
arranged and adjusted to fit various sizes of plates. 
The clamps are beveled and made adjustable so that 
they will fit snugly over the beveled edge of the plates. 

Plates which cannot be worked on patent blocks are 
secured by screws, tacks or anchors to wooden blocks. 
Mahogany makes the best blocking wood, but is rather 
expensive for general work. Cherry comes next, and is 
the wood most generally employed for blocks ; birch and 
maple are also used to some extent. Blocking wood 
may be procured ready for use, kiln dried, and surfaced 
to proper thickness; but most electrotypers prefer to 
purchase lumber in the rough and dress it to thickness 
as it is required for blocking, thus avoiding danger of 
warping, which is likely to occur when the wood is 
dressed several days in advance of its use. 

Lumber which has been thoroughly dried in the 
yard is superior to kiln dried lumber because it is less 
susceptible to changes of atmosphere. When sufficient 
space is available it is always advisable to carry a stock 



in the foundry, where it soon becomes seasoned. It 
often happens, however, that well-seasoned lumber can- 
not be procured and kiln drying then becomes neces- 
sary. By whatever process the wood is dried it should 

Fig. 43- 

be thoroughly done, otherwise the block will warp after 
the electrotype has been secured to it, probably after it 
has been delivered to the printer, in which case much 
annoyance and expense will inevitably result. 


Blocking wood must be surfaced on both sides and 
with perfect accuracy to insure good printing. For this 
purpose a rotary planer, Fig. 43, is almost indispensa- 
ble. The peculiar advantage of this machine consists 
in the fact that it dresses the wood perfectly flat and 
level, no matter how badly it may have been warped or 
sprung before planing. In this respect it is far supe- 
rior to the ordinary wood planer, for, while the wood is 
flattened by the pressure rollers during the operation of 
planing, it springs back to its original shape on being 

Referring to Fig. 43, it will be observed that the cut- 
ting tools of the rotary planer are secured in a revolving 
disk which is made vertically adjustable by means of the 
crank shown at the top of the machine. Power is com- 
municated to the disk by a belt passing over idlers at the 
rear of the upright frame to the pulley on the disk shaft. 
One of these idlers is secured to a shaft which carries 
on its outer end a grooved pulley which provides a 
means of transmitting power to the worm shaft shown at 
the side of the machine. The worm wheel driven by 
this shaft is secured to a shaft passing under the travel- 
ing bed, and is provided on its inner end with a small 
pinion which engages the rack attached to the under 
side of the bed. By a simple mechanism which is at all 
times in control of the operator, the worm is thrown 
out of gear at the termination of the cut and the bed 
returned to its first position by hand. The lumber is 
held during the operation of planing between the jaws 
of two clamps, one of which is stationary and the other 
connected with a screw which terminates in the crank 

handle shown at the front of the machine. In opera- 


tion, the board is placed between the jaws of the clamps 
and locked by means of the crank mentioned. The 
board is thus secured against springing or rocking while 
its upper surface is dressed perfectly true and level. 
The board is then turned over with its flat surface 
against the bed of the machine, and again passed under 
the cutters, which reduce it to the required thickness. 
The disk is raised and lowered by a graduated adjust- 
ing screw operated by the crank shown at the top of the 
machine, and may, therefore, always be returned to the 
proper height for the finishing cut without going to the 
trouble of comparing each board with a standard. Ow- 
ing to the large size of the disk and the fact that the 
tools are located near its periphery, the machine should 
be driven at a speed not exceeding 1,500 revolutions 
per minute. 

After planing, the boards are cut into convenient 
lengths for handling, and the plates secured to them 
by means of wire brads or screws, or both. Brads 
may be driven through the thin places (spaces) in the 
plates, but for the screws holes should be drilled and 
countersunk in order that the heads may be sufficiently 
depressed to avoid danger of blacking or smutting in 
printing. Where a plate has no spaces or blanks where 
brads or screws may be driven, it is customary to 
"anchor" the plate to the block. For this purpose 
holes about one-fourth of an inch in diameter are bored 
through the block and deeply countersunk on both 
sides. If the plate has been finished long enough to 
have become oxidized, the back should be brightened 
by filing, and is then laid on the block and temporarily 
secured thereto by hand clamps. It is then turned over 


on its face, and, after a very small quantity of soldering 
fluid has been applied to the plate through the holes, 
melted solder is poured in until the holes are full. It is 
important, of course, not to get the solder too hot, as 
in that case there would be danger of its melting 
through the plate. There is always an element of 
uncertainty in securing electrotypes to blocks by this 
method, and, when possible, it is best as an additional 
safeguard to rabbet the edges of the plate and drive in 
a few brads. When the plate is small, it may some- 
times be fastened securely in this way without the use 
of anchors. 

When several small cuts are to be blocked at one 
time, it is customary to tack them on to a board as 
large as may be conveniently planed, leaving sufficient 
room between the cuts to saw them apart. Should it 
be necessary to take a final shaving off the bottom of 
the cuts after they have been blocked, it may be done 
more economically if several are shaved at a time than 
if each one were to be handled separately. 

Very large blocks are liable to warp in time, in spite 
of any precautions which may be taken to prevent it, 
and to reduce this tendency to a minimum each block 
should be strengthened by end strips crossing the grain 
of the block. The strips may be secured to the blocks 
by countersunk screws, but a more satisfactory method 
is to dovetail them together. A machine specially 
designed for this work is illustrated in Fig. 44. The 
cutting tools are a thick gouge saw of about No. 3 
gauge, which cuts a slot in the board or strip, and a 
vertical revolving cutter, which follows in the slot and 
changes it into a dovetail groove. The mechanism for 



driving the tools is sufficiently explained by the engrav- 
ing. The parallel side gauge, against which the board 
is pressed during the cutting of the dovetail, can be 
instantly changed by means of the small lever at the 

Fig. 44. 


right of the machine so that either the center or the 
edge of the strip may be thrown in alignment with the 
cutters, thus providing a means of cutting a dovetail in 
one board and a tenon on the other. The mechanism 
for changing the side gauge from one position to the 
other is such that there can be no variation in the dis- 
tance it is moved, and whatever position it occupies it 
is automatically locked therein, thus insuring absolute 
uniformity of work. The machine may be readily 
adjusted to operate on lumber of different thicknesses. 


DR. Albert's metal molds. 

THE subject of metal molds is one in which all 
progressive electrotypers are interested, and we 
have therefore translated from the German Dr. 
Albert's description of his process, which is sufficiently 
in detail to enable the skilled electrotyper to compre- 
hend how it is possible to mold in lead. Dr. Albert 
does not explain the nature of the mechanism by which 
he is able to obtain " successive partial pressures " on 
" any press," nor does he describe fully the character 
of the alloy which he employs in loosening the shell 
from the matrix. The American patents concerning 
Dr. Albert's process have been purchased by an Ameri- 
can manufacturer of electrotyping machinery, who has 
already installed several plants in this country which 
are in more or less successful operation. The follow- 
ing is a translation from " Theory and Practice of the 
Metal Matrix," by Dr. E. Albert : 

" Jacobi, the inventor of the art of electrotyping, 
has for more than half a century experimented in pro- 
ducing lead matrices for engraved steel and copper 
plates, and with the greatest success. Nevertheless, 
the wax and gutta-percha matrix has been the popular 
method of electrotyping until recently, although the 
defects of the electrotypes made from it urgently called 
for a change in the method. 


" The origin of these defects is to be found princi- 
pally in the fact that the non-conducting material must 
first be made conductive by brushing with black lead, 
whereby it is impossible to avoid an essential deterio- 
ration in quality as compared with the original ; and 
that in consequence of the necessary heating of the 
material before the impression is taken, and the 
changes in its dimensions after cooling, an exact regis- 
ter of electrotypes for multi-colored prints can not be 
guaranteed. With the possibility of using conducting 
and cold-molded metal matrices, all this inferiority of 
the electrotypes, as compared with the original, is at 
once removed. 

" But modern printing forms, such as photoengra- 
vings, woodcuts, type forms, heliogravure, can not be 
impressed in soft metal in the same manner as in wax 
and gutta-percha. The requisite pressure would be 
so great that the soft printing material would be 

" Some attempts to avoid the high pressure in pro- 
ducing metal matrices by using very thin lead foils 
and putting on them layers of thoroughly saturated 
pasteboard, or wax, have never had any practical 
results, although they date back to the forties in the 
last century, and for the following reasons : 

" Every electrotyper knows that in molding from 
mixed type and cut forms the type is impressed long 
before the shading of the woodcut or a photoengraving 
is molded. The above-mentioned thoroughly satu- 
rated pasteboard affects the impression just as wax or 
gutta-percha made soft by heating, i. e., the lead foil 
must first be pressed into the large and then into the 


smallest depressions of the printing form by the satu- 
rated pasteboard. In spite of the enormous ductility 
of lead, it will not, of course, satisfy this demand for 

" It must be considered that in the square milli- 
meter of a photoengraving there are thirty-six depres- 
sions into which the lead foil must be pressed, and 
that it applies itself to 144 side walls per qmm. In 
underetched printing-plates considerable force is nec- 
essary to separate the matrix from the plate, and, 
therefore, it is impossible in larger forms, ""without dis- 
torting the mold, to separate the plate from the lead 
foil, which, in the interest of lessening the pressure, 
must be very thin. 

" The pressure necessary for forcing any molding 
material into the smallest depressions of a form can 
not be produced as long as an opportunity remains for 
it to make its way into open spaces. In consequence 
of this characteristic, all wax matrices must be sub- 
jected to a shaving process to remove the large angu- 
lar protuberances, which correspond to the depressions 
in the printing form. This necessary manipulation 
would, of course, be impossible in matrices consisting 
of thin lead foil, and also for these reasons the use of 
this method for rule etching, woodcuts and type mat- 
ter is excluded. 

" It has been pointed out as a characteristic of the 
materials hitherto used for the production of matrices 
that the molding of the largest depressions is done 
before that of the smallest. With soft metals, espe- 
cially lead, the contrary is the case, as this material 
first shifts in the direction of the pressure and fills the 


small depressions. With increased pressure, which is 
necessary in order also to press the lead down in the 
large depressions of the form, the lead also begins to 
shift like wax to the sides in the neighborhood of the 
first-molded parts. 

"Apart from the fact that the already molded little 
points, which correspond to the smallest depressions in 
the form, will be shaved off, this shifting of the lead 
has another disadvantage, namely, that the lead lodges 
in these smallest depressions and the original will be 
made unfit for use through this filling up with lead. 
Besides, neither type matter nor cuts will withstand 
the enormous pressure that must be used to impress a 
lead plate of at least five millimeters (about one-fifth 
of an inch) thickness into the large depressions. 

" But such a thickness in the lead plate would be 
just as necessary as in the wax or gutta-percha, as the 
difference in height between the face of the type and 
that of the spacing is about one pica. 

" With the present means, therefore, matrices can 
not be produced in metal plates, and it has been neces- 
sary to use wax or gutta-percha for this purpose, until, 
in the year 1903, Dr. Albert succeeded in establishing 
a method for the rational production of metal matrices. 
This method is based on a number of inventions and 
is patented in all civilized countries. 

" The knowledge that depressions in the electro- 
types in the blank spaces are required only to prevent 
smearing in the subsequent printing of the electro- 
types, led to the course of pressing or bending a lead 
plate of about two millimeters (about seventy-eight 
one-thousandths of an inch) thickness into said depres- 



sions only so far as the technical necessities of printing 
demanded, by means of a backlayer of some soft 

" This method is accordingly based upon a com- 
bination of impression and bending. The bending of 
the lead will be greater the larger and wider the 
depressed surface is, and the blank places will there- 
fore be of such a depth that they will not smear in 
printing. The process is illustrated by Figs, i and 2. 

" Fig. I shows the arrangement of the press platen, 
the lead plate and the soft, elastic intermediate layer 

Fig. I. 

before the impression is taken. The material used for 
this purpose must originally, or in its arrangement, be 
of certain qualities, and must be softer than the mold- 
ing material. It must be compressible without giving 
way sideward under the pressure ; but it must also 
give a certain resistance to the compression in order to 
be able by this power of resistance to bend the lead 
plate where it lies over the hollow. This material, 
however, should not be so soft as, for example, heated 
wax, but should be porously soft, either in its nature 
or in its arrangement. A certain degree of elasticity 
is useful in the interest of the bending of the molding 
plate into the depressions in the form. 



" Such intermediate layer can suitably consist of a 
number of layers of paper, and such a one is, through 
the nature of the fiber of the paper, as well as through 
the air inclosed between, soft and elastic in itself in 
respect to the vertical direction toward the surface of 
impression ; while, on the other hand, through the 
texture of the paper, the necessary check will be given 
to prevent the paper from gliding sideways at the 
beginning of the pressure. In earlier experiments the 
latter tendency was prevented by saturating the paper. 

" In Fig. 2 the platen is lowered so that the inter- 
mediate layer between the points o o', from which the 
first counterpressure comes, is compressed to half its 
original volume. In the moment when, through com- 

FlG. 2. 

pression, the intermediate layer has reached the same 
degree of hardness as the molding material, the next, 
increase in pressure will press this material into the 
smallest depressions of the surface o o'. The lead 
lying perfectly free between the points u u', and there- 
fore exerting no counterpressure, will simultaneously 
be pressed down in the hollow space u u' as an effect 
of the resisting power of the intermediate layer. 

" The same will be the case between the points 
m m', although in a lesser degree, just as a board that 


is supported at intervals of two meters will sag more 
than one whose supports are only one meter apart, 
with the same weight on it. 

" By the use of this bending i)rocess, the requisite 
molding pressure is reduced to one-tenth of what 
would otherwise be necessary, and the use of metal 
molds is made possible. 

" The question of producing the metal matrix was 
thus solved only for moderate sizes, for, even if the 
pressure was considerably lessened by the correct selec- 
tion of the thickness of the lead plate and by the back- 
layer of a soft, elastic matter, still an essentially greater 
pressure than is required for wax or gutta-percha is 
necessary. The usual hydraulic presses with about 
one hundred atmospheres were consequently not usable 
for the impression of larger sizes. 

" By using a successive partial pressure and at the 
same time introducing a secondary pressure, Dr. 
Albert has succeeded in changing any press to a twenty 
times higher capacity at very small cost. This gradual 
progress of a limited pressure over the whole form 
affords an opportunity for the air to escape and pre- 
vents troubles arising from this cause. As the shifting 
proceeds automatically, there is no loss of time worth 
mentioning in this method. For example : The mold- 
ing of a form of Woche (the Week) requires only a 
period of fifty-five seconds, and for a form of Berliner 
Illustrirte Zeitting (Berlin Illustrated Gazette) not 
quite two minutes. For molding of cut forms of the 
same size only half of the time mentioned is required. 
With this method there is no difficulty whatever in 
producing molds of any size. 


" It is self-evident that a copper shell deposited on 
a lead matrix can not be loosened directly, as is the 
case with a wax matrix. It would not be possible to 
melt the lead away from the copper without injury to 
the electrotype. But by letting the matrix and copper 
deposit float on a very easily fusible metal alloy with 
many free calorics, this loosening succeeds so well that 
the same matrix can be used five times for the produc- 
tion of new electrotypes without affecting the quality 
of the electrotypes. Thus the problem of the metal 
matrix is perfectly solved in all respects. 

" These inventions have made a revolution in elec- 
trotyping technics. The word revolution, however, has 
more reference to the clearness, rapidity, cheapness 
and quality of the production than to the change of 
the working methods and arrangements of already 
established electrotype foundries. 

"Of great importance is the discarding or doing 
away with the blackleading of the mold matrix, 
whereby in soft printing elements of photoengravings, 
etc., a shifting of the tone values in respect to the 
original occurs. The metal matrix in itself conducts 
the electricity and needs no blackleading. 

" The Albert electrotype is identical with the origi- 
nal. A difference in the print of both can not be 
detected. This identity of the Albert electrotype and 
the original, in respect to the tone values, is based on 
the nature of the metal matrix and is not dependent 
on the skill of the workman. 

" The molding process itself can be done on any 
hydraulic press in use. The machinery for successive 
partial pressure can be set up in a few hours at a small 


expense. The increase of the capacity of the press is 
enormous ; with 120 atmospheres (1,800 pounds to the 
square inch), with 40 centimeters piston diameter 
(about 16 inches) photoengravings, 40 by 50 centi- 
meters ( 16 by 20 inches) large, can be molded. Faulty 
moldings, as in wax, which are occasioned by inclosed 
air, do not generally occur, as the air always has a 
chance to escape during the successive partial pressure. 

" It has already been mentioned how little time is 
necessary for successive partial pressure when suitable 
arrangements are made. Wax and gutta-percha have 
not only to be blackleaded after molding, but by heat- 
ing be brought to a certain degree of softness before 
molding. In this way changes in the dimensions arise 
when the molds cool off, and exact register can there- 
fore not be guaranteed in electrotypes for multi- 
colored prints. The metal matrix is perfectly cold- 
molded, and therefore an exact register in multi- 
colored prints is always assured. 

" Thus the metal matrix is cleaner and more rapid 
than wax or gutta-percha, and, besides, is of a quality 
that guarantees the identity of the electrotypes with 
the original. The financial advantages of the Albert 
electrotype will be seen in the further manipulation of 
the matrix. 

"After the lifting off of the form, the matrix will, 
without any afterwork whatever, be fastened with four 
nails to a board, whose suspending bow touches the 
matrix by contact, and the latter will at once be coated 
over the whole surface with copper in the same 
moment it is suspended in the bath. Owing to the 
high melting-point of the matrix, the copper bath can, 


without any danger to the matrix, be heated to 50° to 
60° Celsius (which will allow an increase in the cur- 
rent tension of eight to twelve volts), and the forma- 
tion of a sufficiently thick copper deposit will follow in 
a hitherto-considered impossible short time ; for 
medium sizes only one-half to one hour for producing 
the deposit is needed. 

" Besides this shortening of the time for producing 
the deposit, the high temperature will act favorably 
on the physical character of the electrically deposited 
copper, as well in respect to its hardness as to its elas- 
ticity, which also is evident in the fact that the electro- 
types need only a minimum straightening. 

" The loosening of the copper shell from the metal 
matrix is done so easily, rapidly and surely that no 
damage to or change in the metal matrix or copper 
shell results. The matrix can therefore at once be 
suspended in the bath again for a second copper 
deposit, and this second electrotype, as well as the 
third and fourth, is in no way inferior to the first elec- 

" When the matrix is not to be used any more, it 
can be converted into backing metal. The loosened 
copper shell can, of course, be backed in any way 
desirable, and the electrotype be made ready for print 
in the usual way. Only one hour and a half is needed 
(inclusive of the molding and copper deposit) for put- 
ting the electrotype in shape for the press." 



SOLUTION. — Dilute lo grams of the solution with an equal 
quantity of distilled water. Add normal soda solution until 
Congo paper is no longer colored blue. The number of grams 
of soda solution consumed multiplied by 4.9 gives the number 
of grams of acid per liter. One liter equals 1,000 grams. 

ence of a small quantity of free acid in the nickel bath effects 
the reduction of a whiter nickel than in the case with a neutral 
or alkaline solution. Hence a slightly acid reaction of the bath 
due to the presence of citric acid, with the exclusion of the 
strong acids of the metalloids, can be highly recommended. 
The quantity of free acid must, however, not be too large, as 
this would cause the deposit to pull off. 

Von Hubl, the minimum current density per square foot of 
cathode in a fifteen per cent blue vitriol solution without acidu- 
lation is 24.1 amperes, while the same solution with six per 
cent sulphuric acid added required but 13.9 amperes. 

ACID, HYDROCHLORIC— The pure acid is a colorless 
fluid which emits abundant fumes in contact with the air and 
has a pungent odor by which it is readily distinguished from 
other acids. The specific gravity of the strongest hydrochloric 
acid is 1.2; the crude acid of commerce has a color, 
due to iron, and contains arsenic. 

ACID, MURIATIC— See hydrochloric acid. 

ACID, SULPHURIC— Ordinary sulphuric acid has a spe- 
cific gravity of 1.84. It is used in the preparation of the 

11 161 


depositing solution. In diluting the acid with water, it should 
in all cases be added to the water in a gentle stream and with 
constant stirring, as otherwise a dangerous explosion might 
result. While it is known that sulphuric acid aids in making 
the bath conductive, there is, of course, a limit to the quantity 
which may be advantageously employed, and it is doubtful if 
this point has ever been exactly determined. The writer has 
been to some trouble to ascertain the views of certain practical 
electrotypers on the subject and compared them with the 
recommendations of numerous scientific writers. From these 
various sources of information we learn that the solution of 
copper should show a specific gravity of from 14° to 18° B., 
and that to the solution should be added sulphuric acid in suf- 
ficient quantity to increase the density of the mixture from 
J4° to 9°. This wide divergence of opinion is probably due in 
some cases to the effort of the electrotyper to adapt his solu- 
tion to the current strength which his dynamo may happen 
to be generating. 

ACID, SOLDERING. — Prepared by dissolving scrap zinc 
in hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) to saturation, and adding 
from 25 to 50 per cent of water. The operation should be con- 
ducted in the open air, as the fumes produced are both dis- 
agreeable and dangerous. 

AGITATION, BENEFITS OF.— The continuous agita- 
tion of the copper bath is of great advantage to the electro- 
type, particularly when rapid deposition is desired. The copper 
is more evenly deposited and of better quality, the formation of 
gas bubbles, nodules and excrescences is largely prevented, 
while the annoying streaks which sometimes appear on the 
deposit, usually as a result of an excess of metal in the solu- 
tion, are seldom or never seen in an agitated bath. But the 
principal advantage may be found in the fact that much higher 
current densities may be utilized, resulting in a corresponding 
increased rate of deposition. 

— While agitation is a practical and useful aid to deposition of 
metals, and is recognized as such by all electrotypers who have 


given it a trial, as well as by all the great copper refiners of 
Europe and America, its chief value consists in the fact that 
it promotes uniformity in the composition of the solution, aids 
in the diffusion of metal in the solution, and, when a strong 
current is employed, prevents to a certain extent the forma- 
tion of nodules, excrescences and streaks on the cathode. It 
also minimizes the tendency to polarization and promotes 
purity in the character of the copper deposited. If inequality 
in the composition of the solution tends to increase the resist- 
ance of the solution, then agitation, by promoting uniformity, 
would diminish the resistance to just that extent. It is doubt- 
ful, however, whether the mere fact of giving motion to a 
solution adds to its conductivity. In other words, if an agi- 
tator should be introduced into a depositing solution which 
had previously been employed for electrotyping without agita- 
tion, and if no change were made in the content of acid or 
metal in the solution or in the speed of the dynamo, the 
increase in the rate of deposition would probably be inappre- 
ciable. It should be understood that some motion always takes 
place in the solution whenever deposition is going on. With- 
out motion there could be no diffusion, and without diffusion 
there could be no deposition, for it is obvious that there must 
be constant renewal of metal in the solution next the cathode, 
as otherwise it would soon become exhausted. This motion 
is caused by the sinking of the heavy liquid next the anode 
and the constant rising of the liquid next the cathode, where 
it is deprived of its metal, and consequently becomes lighter 
than the surrounding liquid. This motion, together with the 
stirring of the solution occasioned by the immersion and 
removal of the cathodes, is sufficient for the diffusion of the 
metal when a current of low density is employed. It is true 
that a solution undisturbed for some time will become more 
acid at the top than at the bottom and, therefore, more con- 
ductive at the top than at the bottom. Yet it is doubtful if 
the total resistance of the solution is very much affected by 
this condition. Granting that agitation would diminish the 
resistance of the solution to a slight extent by promoting uni- 


formity, it is certain that it does not influence the resistance 
beyond this point, for frequent tests have demonstrated that 
the current strength measured at the electrodes remains 
unchanged whether the agitator be in operation or not. But 
if the agitator does not in itself increase the rate of deposition, 
it enables the operator to increase his current and thereby 
accomplish practically the same purpose. Von Hubl found by 
careful laboratory tests that the current strength could be 
increased about fifty per cent when the bath is kept in gentle 
motion. This statement is very conservative and probably 
means that the current strength may be increased fifty per 
cent without changing the character of the copper or causing 
waste of power by polarization. If no consideration be given 
to economical working, there is no doubt but the current may 
be increased far beyond the fifty-seven amperes per square 
foot which he gives as a maximum. 

AGITATION, METHODS OF.— One of the main objects 
of agitation is to remove the exhausted stratum of solution 
next to the cathode and replace it with a saturated solution in 
order that deposition may proceed with the greatest possible 
rapidity. Various mechanical means are employed to effect 
this object. The most popular method is that of forcing air 
through the solution from perforated lead or rubber pipes laid 
on the bottom of the vats. Another method consists in pump- 
ing the solution from the bottom of one end of the vat and 
discharging it in such a manner as to create a circular motion. 
Another method consists in mounting the anodes on spindles 
and revolving them slowly in the solution between the cathodes. 
By another and very effective method a horizontal rod is made 
to travel up and down between the anode and cathode. The 
latest and, it is claimed, the best method is briefly described 
as follows : A large perpendicular cylinder is made to revolve 
slowly in the solution. The cylinder is surrounded by anodes 
and to the periphery of the cylinder the cathodes arc attached. 
In operation the cathodes are constantly passing the anodes 
and the disturbance is so effectual that 200 or more amperes 
per square foot may be utilized without burning the deposit. 


ALKALINITY AND ACIDITY.— An excess of acid or 
alkali in a nickel solution may be instantly detected by dip- 
ping simultaneously into the solution strips of blue and red 
litmus paper. If the blue litmus paper becomes red, it indi- 
cates an excess of acid, while on the other hand the test shows 
that when red litmus paper becomes blue an excess of alkali 
is indicated. 

ALLOY, FUSIBLE.— Melt i pound of lead in a clean 
vessel, and stir in % pound of tin and, finally, iJ/S pounds of 
bismuth. Stir well, and thoroughly incorporate the mixture; 
pour out gradually into water ; collect, and repeat until a com- 
plete admixture is obtained. It melts at 212° F., the tem- 
perature of boiling water. 

AMALGAMATION OF ZINC— To amalgamate zinc 
plates it is necessary, first, if the plates be new, to wash them 
in hot caustic soda solution, so as to remove the greasy film 
imparted to them at the rolling mills. A flat vessel is then 
partially filled with dilute sulphuric acid and upon it is also 
poured a little of the best quality of mercury procurable. The 
plate is dipped in the liquid and the mercury rubbed on with 
a pad of tow or other suitable substance. The workman should 
take particular care to cover every portion of the surface. 
When the plates present a uniform silvery appearance they 
may be set upon edge to drain, after which they are ready to 
be placed in the battery. 

AMMETER? WHAT IS AN.— Without going into 
technicalities, it may be said that the ammeter is an instru- 
ment for measuring the amount or quantity of electric current 
employed in performing work. The ammeter measures quan- 
tity, while the voltmeter measures pressure, and the product 
of quantity multiplied by pressure, as measured by these instru- 
ments, is called watts and is what we who buy electric power 
have to pay for at the end of each month. 

AMMETER VARIATION.— The ammeter reading may 
vary from two causes on a constant surface (cathode) load 
without the voltmeter varying. The resistance of the solution 


may vary or the resistance between the supporting or case 
rods and the tank rods may vary. Another reason, probably 
the best, is that a new case when immersed presents a large 
resistance, due to the lack of copper on the surface. A new 
case will not use full current density for some minutes after 
it is immersed. In fact, the current for the first few seconds 
is almost nothing. If you have a large number of fresh cases, 
and a few that are nearly done, your current will perhaps 
be fifty per cent low with no voltmeter change. Bad brush 
contact would vary voltmeter and ammeter together. 

AMMONIA. — Is water saturated with ammonia gas. 
Must be stored in closely stoppered bottles. It is employed 
for neutralizing nickel solutions when too acid and is some- 
times added to soldering fluid. 

AMPERE. — The unit of current strength is produced when 

an electromotive force of one volt acts through a resistance 

' of one ohm and conveys one coulomb per second. An ampere 

is that strength of current which will deposit .00508 grain of 

copper per second from a blue vitriol solution. 

— Bore several holes through the base and countersink both 
sides. If the plate has been finished long enough to have 
become oxidized, brighten the back by filing and tlicn lay it 
on the block and secure it temporarily by hand clamps. Apply 
a small quantity of soldering fluid to the plate through the 
holes and then pour in melted solder until the holes are full. 
It is important, of course, not to get the solder too hot, as in 
that case there would be danger of melting through the plate. 
There is always an element of uncertainty in securing plates 
by anchoring, but in some cases there is no other way to 
accomplish the object. 

ANODE. — The pole or plate by which an electric current 
enters a depositing solution. In electrotyping a solid plate of 
copper of any convenient thickness and about the same area 
as the cathode or mold, it should be connected with the posi- 
tive pole of the battery or dynamo and kept clean by occa- 
sional scouring and washing. 


ANODE CONNECTIONS.— A new anode connection 
recently introduced consists of a broad strap of copper about 
three inches wide and one-eighth of an inch thick, accurately 
milled where it hooks over the rod so as to make a perfect 
connection. The strap is secured to the anode by a casting of 
electrotype metal which covers and protects the connection 
from the action of the solution. The anode may, therefore, 
be suspended entirely under the solution without danger of 
destroying the connection, which is practically everlasting. In 
addition to the advantage of having a perfect connection, the 
anodes wear away evenly, leaving no stub ends to go in the 
junk pile or be worked off in the baskets. 

ANODE HOOKS.— Anode hooks should be of ample 
dimensions to carry a large volume of current without heating. 
Copper wire of three-eighths of an inch in diameter is recom- 
mended. The hooks should be kept clean where contact is 
made with anodes and cross rods, to insure minimum resist- 

ANODE PLATES, SIZE OF.— The anode and cathode 
should each present an equal surface to the solution. The 
anode has two sides, but the back, when facing flat work, 
should be left out of account. Hence an electrotype a foot 
square should be faced by an anode a foot square. If there 
be any difference in size, the anode should be the larger. 

ANTIMONY. — Antimony is hard and brittle and melts 
at 842° F. It is not attacked by cold sulphuric acid. It is 
employed with lead and tin in the manufacture of electrotype 
and stereotype metal to harden the mixture. 

" BACKER-UP," THE.— Next to the molder, the backer- 
up is the most valuable man in a first-class foundry — that is, 
a good one that knows his business in regard to having his 
metal right and how to pour it on his shell with the least 
injury to the plate and to avoid shrinks. The responsibility of 
the backer-up is very great, and, if he does his work properly, 
he can save a great deal of time and labor in the finishing 


patented device for backing up and straightening electrotypes 
consists of a bed frame supported by suitable legs and made 
long enough to provide room at its middle part for a yoke and 
vertically adjustable platen. At one side of the platen suffi- 
cient space is provided for the backing pan to set during the 
process of backing up the shell, and on the other side there is 
room for moving the finished plate out so that another pan 
may be placed in position at the left hand of the platen. The 
yoke and platen are somewhat similar to the yoke and platen 
of a stereotyper's drying press, except that the platen is pro- 
vided on its under side with a layer of felt about one-fourth 
of an inch in thickness, and a press plate having projections 
or teats on its surface called a " hurdy-gurdy " plate. The 
hurdy-gurdy plate, with the intermediate layer of felt, is 
attached by bolts to the platen. The bed frame is provided 
with rollers to facilitate the passage of the backing pan from 
one end of the bed to its position under the platen, and from 
thence to the other end of the bed. In operation, the shell is 
placed in the backing pan on one end of the press, where it 
is backed up and cooled in the usual manner. The backing 
pan is then rolled under the platen and pressure applied by 
means of a hand wheel and screw, which has the alleged effect 
of straightening the face of the electrotype and bringing all 
parts of the same, by means of the hurdy-gurdy, into one 
plane, removing all unevenness and irregularities. It is 
claimed the intermediate layer of yielding material permits the 
hurdy-gurdy to give and adapt itself so it will not press any 
harder on the ends or sides of the electrotype than on the 
intermediate points. The inventor asserts that a great saving 
of time is accomplished by this method of straightening plates, 
as very little finishing is required. 

BLACKLEADING BY HAND.— Blackleading by hand is 
a slow and laborious process and is seldom practiced, a machine 
being considered essential even in small foundries. For black- 
leading by hand, a camel's-hair brush is employed. The 
graphite should be brushed back and forth over the mold until 


a bright polish is obtained and until it is certain that no spot, 
however small, has been neglected. If so much as a punctua- 
tion point fails to receive the proper polish, copper will not 
deposit thereon, and a hole in the shell will result. In the 
days before blackleading machines were invented, it was the 
custom to place the mold in a box provided at the front with a 
curtain. Then, by inserting the hand through a hole in the 
curtain, the polishing could be effected without filling the air 
of the room with dust. 

leading machine is the one patented about twenty-six years 
ago by Mr. S. P. Knight, foreman of the electrotyping depart- 
ment of Harper Brothers. The machine consisted of a tank 
with a centrifugal pump, to which there was attached a hose 
and syringe. The tank contained a mixture of plumbago and 
water, of about the consistency of cream, which by means of 
the pump, was forced through the syringe, which was arranged 
to move to and fro across the tank and thus coat the molds, 
which were laid on a rack placed just below the surface of the 
solution in the tank. On moving the cases from the machine, 
the surplus mixture was scraped oflf with the hand, the cases 
being afterward thoroughly washed in another tank. The 
plumbago in the second tank was allowed to settle before the 
water was drawn off. This process gave promise of obviating 
much dust in the foundry, but never came into extensive use 
owing to the inability of workmen to operate it successfully, 
notwithstanding that Mr. Knight used it and no other method 
for coating his molds. In use it was found that, from the drip- 
pings from the cases after the water had dried out, there was 
nearly as much dust in the room as with the dry process. 

BLISTER ON SHELLS.— Blister is sometimes caused by 
an excess of crocus on the mold ; it will cause shrinks in the 
plates, making trouble for the finisher. Crocus should be used 
very sparingly, if at all, and should be carefully brushed off 
the mold before it goes into the vat. Instead of crocus, brush 
a small quantity of sulphate of zinc on the case before molding. 


molding from beveled book-plates, make four wooden blocks 
exact size of the book-plates which arc to be duplicated. Place 
them in chase, with wooden furniture at one end and one side, 
next to the chase. Place inverted brass rules around each 
block and a pica slug between the rules which are at the ends 
of the block where they meet in the middle. Lock up with 
Hempel quoins at one side and one end. Only one rule is 
necessary between the blocks the long way. The brass rules 
should have teats or lugs soldered on to catch the plates at 
the bevel to prevent them from lifting when wax mold is 
being lifted. 

BRASSPLATING HALF-TONES.— Plating with brass 
is not an easy proposition for an amateur and is rendered 
unnecessarily difficult by the complicated solutions recom- 
mended by most writers. The following formula is simple and 
less troublesome to keep in order than those generally advo- 
cated: i6 ounces cyanid of potassium, 5 ounces carbonate of 
copper, iJ/2 ounces carbonate of zinc, i ounce ammonia and i 
gallon of water. The deposition of brass is usually attended 
with some difficulty because it is composed of two metals, one 
of which is positive and the other negative ; hence the current 
strength requires more or less regulation to insure uniform 
deposition of both metals. As brass contains a larger pro- 
portion of copper than of zinc, the copper in the bath becomes 
first exhausted, and sufficient carbonate of copper must be 
added to restore the proper proportions. Cyanid of potassium 
must be supplied when the action of the bath becomes slug- 
gish. A strong current is required. Constant watchfulness is 
necessary to keep the bath in good working condition. To 
increase the wearing qualities of zinc half-tones, the " Process 
Photogram" suggests facing the half-tone with brass, and 
recommends the following bath formula : Zinc carbonate, lo 
parts ; copper carbonate, lo parts ; soda carbonate, 20 parts ; 
soda bisulphite, 20 parts ; potassium cyanid, 20 parts ; arsen- 
ious acid, 1-5 part; water, 1,000 parts. To make up the solu- 
tion, proceed as follows : Take 12 parts sulphate of copper 


and 12 parts sulphate of zinc, and dissolve them in water; 
then add carbonate of soda, already dissolved, to the solution. 
This precipitates the copper and zinc in the form of carbonates, 
a greenish-colored powder. Allow the precipitate to settle and 
pour off the supernatant liquor. Wash the precipitate and 
then mix in with the carbonate and bisulphite of soda in 900 
parts water. Next dissolve the cyanid and arsenic in the 
remaining 100 parts of water and pour this into the first solu- 
tion. This bath should be used cold. 

BRITTLE DEPOSIT. — A weak current always and under 
all conditions causes the deposition of a harder and more 
brittle nickel than a current of medium strength. 

BRONZING SOLUTION.— One gallon of water, Yi ounce 
sulphate of potash, ^ pint of ammonia. This mixture should 
be well heated. After the electrotype has been immersed, take 
it out and apply a wet scratch brush until the surface assumes 
a dark cherry hue, which is a favorite color with art lovers. A 
very beautiful bronze color may be imparted to copper arti- 
cles, such as medals for instance, by boiling them in a solution 
composed of verdigris, S ounces ; muriate of ammonia, 5 
ounces ; strong vinegar, ^/^ ounce. Mix the verdigris and the 
sal ammoniac by pulverizing in a mortar and then add a suf- 
ficient quantity of vinegar to form a paste. Now pour this 
into a copper vessel with a pint of water and boil for about 
half an hour. When cold, stand the mixture aside until the 
sediment has subsided, when the clear liquor may be poured 
off and bottled until required. The articles to be bronzed 
should be boiled in this liquor for ten minutes or longer, tak- 
ing care that they do not come in contact during the opera- 
tion. The fumes of hydrochloric acid or of chlorid of lime 
will produce a very good green bronze upon electrotypes, giv- 
ing them the appearance of ancient bronze. The following 
process is recommended by Watt : " Electrotypes may be 
bronzed by suspending them in a wide-mouthed bottle (or 
other vessel) at the bottom of which a small quantity of sul- 
phid of ammonium has been placed. The sulphid of hydrogen 
which escapes will give a good bronze tint to the copper in a 


few moments, the depth of tone being regulated by the time 
of exposure." 

BURNING. — An error is frequently committed in nickeling 
with too strong a current, the consequence being that the 
deposit on the lower portions of the objects soon becomes dull 
and gray-black, while the upper portions are not sufficiently 
nickeled. This phenomenon, which is due to the reduction of 
the nickel with a coarse grain in consequence of a too powerful 
current, is called burning or overnickeling. A further conse- 
quence of nickeling with too strong a current is that the 
deposit readily peels off after it reaches a certain thickness. 
This phenomenon is due to the hydrogen being condensed and 
retained by the deposit, which prevents thick deposition. 

CASES. — Cases made of electrotype metal, cast in the 
backing pan and shaved down to about three-sixteenths of an 
inch in thickness, are superior in every respect to the expen- 
sive brass pans sold by manufacturers of electrotyping machin- 
ery. The soft metal may be easily kept in shape by planing 
down with a block of wood after each use. 

CASES, WARMING OF.— Warming cases by laying them 
on the steam table, although quite generally practiced, is not a 
good plan, for it softens the wax next the case more than on 
the surface, and often results in concaved work. Cases should 
always be kept in a " hot box," the temperature of which 
should be so regulated as to keep the cases in proper condition 
for molding without additional warming. 

CASTING HARD SHELLS.— It will be found that there 
is a great deal of difference in copper shells about the solder 
flowing readily. When a shell is extra hard the solder is 
invariably obstinate about flowing. 

CATHODE. — Cathode is the pole or plate by which an 
electric current leaves a depositing solution. In electrotyping, 
the wax or composition mold which receives the deposit of 
copper. It is suspended from the negative pole of the dynamo. 

CIRCUIT. — A circuit is the entire path of an electric cur- 


Rodd, superintendent of the electrotyping department of the 
Butterick Publishing Company, is the inventor of certain half- 
tone brushes which are rapidly becoming popular with electro- 
type molders. Although these brushes are made of metal, the 
material is such that they may safely be applied to the most 
delicate half-tone without fear of injury. By the aid of these 
brushes, dirty half-tones may be thoroughly cleaned and all 
the original detail restored. Two brushes are employed. The 
ink or dirt in the half-tone is first softened with wood alcohol 
and then brushed out with the No. i brush. The cut is then 
covered with a soft rag and patted gently with the hand. 
After the cut is dry it is rubbed gently with the No. 2 brush, 
and again after the form has been blackleaded until all the 
black lead has been removed. 

CLEANING CUTS. — The molder will often receive forms 
containing dirty woodcuts, though not so many now as for- 
merly, since the zinc line cuts and half-tones have to such an 
extent taken the place of the woodcut, but it will be well to 
know a liquid that will clean the woodcut nicely and which 
may be made as follows : To i quart of alcohol, add J/2 ounce 
of bisulphid of carbon and lYz ounces of strong liquid ammo- 
nia; thoroughly mix and apply with a brush as you would 
bezin. This wash will be found efficient in removing ink from 
a woodcut, or, in fact, from a half-tone. A good cleansing 
fluid, according to Dunton, is composed of alcohol, 16 ounces ; 
carbon disulphid, i ounce, and strong fluid ammonia, 2 ounces. 
This may be used in the same way as benzin and will be found 
very effectual. 

while hot with kerosene oil and powdered pumice stone. Then 
lay the cast in a shallow sink with inclined bottom, and steam 
it out, using a steam hose without a nozzle. Then take the 
cast to a sawdust box and brush it thoroughly with clean, dry 
sawdust or lay it on a heated steam-table until dry. 

trotype Company, of New York, has devised a machine for 


cleaning electrotype plates, which is said to be superior to hand 
scouring and much more rapid. The machine " subjects the 
face of the plate to a current of benzin or other solvent or 
detergent simultaneously with gentle friction. We accom- 
plish this by an apparatus which moves the plate to be cleaned 
backward and forward several times in contact with a moving 
brush of the proper soft material, adjusted sufficiently near to 
act in all the interstices. In the most complete form of the 
invention the brush is caused to reverse its motion on the 
plate and thereby to act more effectively in the recesses." The 
apparatus is the subject of letters patent No. 621,539. 

BLACK ELECTROTYPES.— Seven pennyweights sul- 
phate of barium, i quart of water. After the article has been 
immersed in the solution a light brown color is produced, 
which gradually deepens until it assumes an intense black. The 
object must be rinsed in hot water and then allowed to dry. 
To secure a brilliant polish, all that is necessary to do is to 
rub it with chamois. 

COLOR-PLATES, REGISTERING.— Fasten the plates 
to the blocks by driving the nails only part way in. Then draw 
your nails, cut out the portions of the plates not wanted, and 
reblock the electros, using the same tack holes. This will 
insure a perfect register, provided your blocks have first been 
accurately finished to the same size. 

pleasing effect may be produced thus: Having well cleaned 
the electrotype, apply varnish with a soft brush to the base 
or flat surface, carefully avoiding the figure ; when the varnish 
has become hard, attach a wire to the electrotype and place 
it in a gold or silver^ bath for a short time until sufficiently 
coated. Now remove the varnish and apply the bronzing 
material to the copper surface, and thus the figure will stand 
out in relief, cither in gold or silver as the case may be. 

CONCAVE. — This is almost invariably caused by over- 
heating the backs of the cases, which softens the wax next 
the case more than on the surface. • The temperature should 


be uniform throughout. For this reason it is advisable to 
employ a "hot box," i. e., a box or cabinet heated by steam 
or gas and so arranged that the cases may be kept at just the 
right temperature for molding. 

CONDUCTIVITY OF LIQUIDS.— The following is a 
list of the conductivity of a few liquids as compared with that 
of pure silver : 

Pure Silver 100,000,000,000 

Nitrate of copper, saturated solution 8,990 

Sulphate of copper, saturated solution 5,420 

Chlorid of sodium, saturated solution 31,520 

Sulphate of zinc, saturated solution 5,77o 

Sulphuric acid, specific gravity 99,070 

Sulphuric acid, 1.24 specific gravity 132,750 

Sulphuric acid, 1.40 specific gravity 90,750 

Nitric acid, commercial 88,680 

Distilled water 7 

conductivity of a blackleaded wax mold, it is customary to 
precipitate a film of copper on its surface by the well-known 
method of first floating the mold with a solution of sulphate 
of copper and then sprinkling iron filings thereon. Another 
method consists in immersing the mold for a few moments 
in a solution of wood alcohol and phosphorus, afterward par- 
tially drying, then rinsing in running water and immediately 
suspending in the bath. This method is specially desirable for 
nickeltyping. The phosphorus solution is made by placing a 
few small pieces of phosphorus in a bath of wood alcohol and 
allowing it to stand for three or four days. Phosphorus is 
only soluble in alcohol, and the portion dissolved will be hardly 
perceptible, but will be sufficient for the purpose. While phos- 
phorus is a dangerous substance to handle, on account of its 
inflammability when exposed to the air, it is perfectly safe 
if kept under water or alcohol, and the quantity employed is so 
very minute that no danger whatever need be apprehended 
from its use in the manner described. 

CONNECTIONS, GOOD.— It has been frequently noted 
that electrotypers do not always appreciate the importance of 
making good connections. It is of no avail to provide large 
conducting rods and cross rods if the conducting capacity of 


the rods is to be choked off at the points of contact, which is 
what occurs when one round rod is laid across another round 
rod. It is obvious that unless one or both of the rods is flat- 
tened where they come in contact, the area of the contact will 
be extremely limited compared with the area of the conductors 
on both sides of the contact. 

current passing through a solution of sulphate of copper will 
dissolve copper suspended in the solution, whether it is in the 
circuit or not. This fact may be readily tested by weighing 
a small piece of copper and hanging it in the solution, without 
electric connection, and after a few hours weighing it again. 
It is because of this fact that extra anodes not in use, if left 
in the solution, will make it dense and heavy at the bottom 
and frequently cause the deposit to be spongy and granular. 

COPPER SCRAPS UTILIZED.— Copper clippings and 
scraps may be utilized as an anode by packing them in a per- 
forated lead box and suspending the box from an anode rod. 
The box may be constructed of plates of electrotype metal 
joined at the corners by soldering. It should be somewhat 
longer and deeper than your cases and about four inches wide. 
The perforations should be as near together as possible. 

a method called the " Cementation Process," which was 
employed a great many years, " for separating copper from the 
drainage water from mines containing copper in solution 
derived from the oxidation of mineral sulphids in the earth." 
By this process the water is brought into contact with scrap 
iron and its copper deposited by simple immersion. Under 
such circumstances the copper separates in little loose crystals 
termed " cementation copper," which contains nearly all the 
impurities of the iron u.sed to precipitate it, and requires to 
be purified. Spain and Portugal export about half a million 
tons annually of iron pyrites containing several per cent of 
copper, the whole of which is extracted by this process. 


COPPER, WEIGHT OF.— A copper shell .005 of an inch 
thick weighs about 3.71 ounces per square foot. One cubic 
inch of copper weighs 5.1585 ounces. 

atmosphere and under ordinary conditions, copper will not 
corrode to an extent sufficient to injure printing-plates, or 
type faced with copper, but there are certain colored inks 
which attack copper by reason of the mercury contained in 
them, and certain cleaning compounds containing ammonia 
which would be likely to produce corrosion if allowed to 
remain on the type. Verdigris may be removed from copper 
by brushing with very dilute nitric acid or ammonia and thor- 
oughly rinsing with clear water. 

CORROSION, TO PREVENT.— Copper soon loses its 
luster when exposed to the atmosphere, but the printing quality 
of the electrotype is not impaired thereby. When electrotypes 
are stored in a d^mp vault or exposed to the action of acid 
fumes or gases which cause excessive corrosion, damage will 
of course result. The remedy is to remove the plates to a 
dry place. If such a place is not available, a coat of hot 
paraffin will protect them to some extent, or they may be 
given a coat of lacquer such as is used to preserve the luster 
on certain kinds of metal artwork. Most electrotypers would 
ridicule the idea of spending any time or money in an attempt 
to preserve the color of an electrotype, and if they are care- 
fully cleaned and stored in a dry place there is really no 
necessity for further protection. 

a tinned shell costs about .05 of a cent per square inch. The 
cost of molding and the various other operations involved in 
producing a shell are estimated to be about one-half the cost 
of the finished electrotype. It is customary, therefore, to 
charge half price for shells. From the seller's standpoint this 
is a satisfactory method of estimating, but as a matter of fact 
the cost of the shells is considerably less than one-half the 
cost of finislicd book-plates. That is to say, the value of the 
metal in the plates, together with the labor of backing up and 



finishing, is actually about two-thirds of the total cost cf the 

COULOMB. — A coulomb is the amount of current which 
passes through a conductor in one second when the strength 
of current is one ampere. 

CROCUS. — Crocus is sometimes used to prevent the form 
from " sliding " and also to prevent the wax from sticking 
to solid cuts and causing them to be rough. If used at all, 
it should be carefully brushed off the mold before it goes into 
the vat, otherwise it is a frequent cause of " blisters " and 
" sinks." 

CURRENT, HIGH TENSION.— The incandescent light 
current will not answer for electrotyping or plating, because 
the tension is too high. The voltage of an electric light machine 
is no or more, while one to three volts is amply sufficient for 
electrotyping. There are other reasons, not necessary to 
explain, why the electric light current would be unsuitable for 

CURRENT STRENGTH.— Current strength is the quan- 
tity of electricity which flows through any cross section of a 
circuit in one second of time; it depends on the electromotive 
force and the* total resistance. The unit of measurement is 
called ampere (see Ampere). According to Ohm's law, the 
strength of current is equal to electromotive force divided by 
resistance. Current strength is measured by means of an 

is employed to measure electric currents, and the voltmeter, to 
measure the electromotive force or pressure. Speaking of 
water flowing through a pipe, we would say that it is delivered 
at the rate of so many gallons per minute. The quantity would 
depend upon the pressure behind it and the friction of the 
pipe. So with the electric current ; the number of amperes 
delivered depends on the pressure (E. M. F.) and the resist- 
ance of the conductors. If the pressure is one volt and the 
resistance one ohm, the current delivered will be one ampere 


per second. If the resistance is only .01 of an ohm, the cur- 
rent will be 100 amperes per second. The current always 
equals the E. M. F. divided by the resistance. Inasmuch as 
the current depends on the resistance as well as the pressure, 
it is obvious that the voltmeter will not always accurately 
measure the current, for, while one volt pressure may produce 
100 amperes under certain conditions of resistance, under 
different conditions the product may be more or less than 100 
amperes ; and, while one volt may produce 100 amperes, it 
does not always follow that two volts will produce 200 amperes, 
for increasing the pressure may increase the resistance by 
heating or polarization. A current of one ampere will deposit 
18. 1 16 grains of copper per hour, and as the ammeter is 
employed to measure the current after resistance has been 
overcome, its working value is always uniform. On the other 
hand, a current of one volt E. M. F. may deposit more or less 
copper at different times as the conditions of resistance vary. 
It is, therefore, evident that the true working value of the 
current can be measured only by the ammeter and can not be 
accurately measured by the voltmeter. 

pages (all of the colorwork) of the Chicago Blade and 
Chicago Ledger are printed from curved electrotype plates 
which are cast by pouring the stereo metal directly into the 
tinned shell, in the same manner that a stereotype plate is 
cast from a paper matrix. 

to prevent expansion in curved plates is to curve the shell and 
cast it in a curved box. Most electrotypers consider this an 
impractical method, although the writer knows of one large 
publication whose color pages are all printed from plates made 
in this manner. While it is obviously impossible to curve an 
electrotype without stretching it, the expansion may be mini- 
mized by surrounding the form with wide bearers and cutting 
down spaces so as to niake the plate as nearly solid as possible. 
A form of open type matter will always stretch more than a 
solid tint or half-tone. 


DEPOSITION, ECONOMICAL.— It is a waste oi power 
to run the dynamo at a high voUage and prevent " burning " 
by cutting down the conductivity of the solution or increasing 
its resistance. It would obviously be in the interest of economy 
to make the solution as conductive as possible and adapt the 
current strength to the solution. 

DEPOSITION, RATE OF.— One ampere deposits 18.116 
grains of copper per hour; 10 amperes deposit 9.84 ounces in 
24 hours ; 386.4 ampSres deposit i pound in i hour ; 746 
amperes deposit 1.93 pounds of copper in i hour; 17.94 
amperes per square foot deposit .001 inch thickness of copper 
per hour. 

ing to the New York Times, the greatest achievement in 
connection with the printing of " David Harum " was the part 
played by the plates from which the book was printed. Only 
one set has been used to print 425,000 copies. When certain 
signs indicated that " David Harum " was fast winning an 
extraordinary popularity, a second set of electrotype plates 
was made, to be used in case of emergency, but so well has 
the electrotyper done his work that this set has not as yet 
been pressed into service. 

DYNAMO, CHOOSING A.— When making choice of a 
dynamo, it should be remembered that a certain volume of 
current is required to produce certain results. According to 
Gore, 17.94 amperes will deposit .001 of an inch thickness per 
hour on a square foot of cathode. A dynamo whose capacity 
is 360 amperes, or twenty times 17.94, will, therefore, deposit 20 
square feet at a time at the rate of .001 of an inch per hour, 
or, to put it in another way, it will deposit 6,480 grains of 
copper per hour. By increasing the E. M. F. of the dynamo 
this weight of copper may be deposited .002 of an inch thick 
on 10 square feet of copper, or .004 of an inch thick on 5 
square feet, or even .008 of an inch thick on 2J/S square feet, 
but the limit of the capacity of the dynamo in weight of 
copper deposited per hour is 6,480 grains, and this limit can 
not be exceeded. It is obvious, therefore, that to perform a 


large amount of work in a limited time requires a large 
dynamo. The best results which the writer has ever seen 
produced in an electrotype foundry were obtained from a 
lo-volt, i,ooo'-ampere dynamo coupled to three baths in series, 
and arranged in such a way that one of the baths may be 
disconnected when it is desired to hurry the work in the other 
two. Ordinarily the E. M. F. is sYs volts per bath and the 
time required to deposit a satisfactory shell is from forty-five 
to sixty minutes, but this time may be reduced to thirty minutes 
or less by utilizing the entire pressure in two vats. This 
machine will deposit thirty feet of good shells per hour or 
about one hundred pounds of copper per day, and will take 
care of the product of four molding presses. 

ELECTROMOTIVE FORCE.— The electromotive force 
of a current means that power by virtue of which it can sur- 
mount resistance. A current of low electromotive force may 
be entirely stopped or absorbed by a moderate resistance. A 
current of high electromotive force can overcome a high 
resistance or accomplish work in such a circuit. 

A sheet of thin metal, copper or an alloy of copper and some 
other metal, is laid on the type-form, which is then covered 
with a blanket and passed through a machine similar to a 
matrix-rolling machine. The blanket is then removed and a 
sheet of softened gutta-percha substituted therefor, after which 
the form is passed through the machine again. This gives a 
deep and sharp impression of the type in the sheet metal, which 
is now stripped from the form and backed up with electrotype 
metal. It is claimed that the plates obtained by this process 
are satisfactory except possibly in the case of very fine-screen 

" Typothetae and Platemaker," there are 372 firms in the 
United States and Canada who make electrotyping their sole 
business, and New York city has about ten per cent of them. 

FINISHING HALF-TONES.— If half-tone shells are 
made extra heavy, there will be no necessity for using a 


smasher in finishing the plate ; in fact, little or no finishing 
should be required other than straightening. If punching is 
unavoidable, it is a good plan to employ a sheet of soft paper 
to protect the face of the plate. 

straightening the electro, take a punch of suitable shape and 
go around just outside the edge of the vignetting. This will 
have the effect of sinking the edge a little below the level. 
When straightening the plate do not bring up the edges of 
the vignetting, but leave it a little lower than the half-tone. 
The result will be that the print will shade off to nothing 
and give the soft effect of the original. 

FOREMAN'S SALARY, THE.— There is a vast differ- 
ence in foremen, just as there is among workmen. The ideal 
foreman possesses large executive ability, has a thorough 
knowledge of his business and has his employer's interests 
always at heart. He keeps his machinery in first-class work- 
ing order and is as careful in expenditures as if the business 
were his own. He secures and retains the respect of his men 
and obtains from them their best efforts. He is prompt, accu- 
rate, energetic and courteous, and always a hustler. There 
are only a few of him. His services are in demand at good 
wages, and he is worth more than he gets. 

GUTTA-PERCHA MOLDS.— If the character of the 
work is such that black lead is not objectionable, it may be 
used, in preparing for the bath, the same as on a wax mold. 
On molds of half-tones or steel engravings, the molds may 
be coated with silver. The following is an extract from a shop 
talk by Mr. G. J. Kelly, of London, England : " Gutta-percha 
is a product of the earth, and, in its natural state, is of a white 
color ; it is gritty usually, and wants careful washing before 
manipulating. There are three kinds of gutta-percha in the 
market ; the purest is white, the next brown, and the last or 
commercial article is black. The third-class article, for pur- 
poses in the trade, is the best. Of course there are various 
grades of black percha, and the choice is a difficult matter, 
known best to those who have had to try inferior material 


through economizing. The pcrcha should be about one-eighth 
inch in thickness and carefully rolled out in sheet. It should 
be hard and without any patches of ' brown ' in its composi- 
tion, because a good percha is always black and shiny as 
ebony after pouring. Now the next thing is its touch ; it 
should be free from clamminess and dry to the finger. If 
there is a tendency to stick, you may reckon at once that the 
tar, or whatever foreign substance it contains, means trouble 
in store. When you have chosen your percha, it will suit 
your purpose best to cut it up into strips and then into squares 
of about four inches. It will not run down as wax when 
steam or heat is applied, and here begins the addition of fat. 
If you get English mutton fat, you have the very best article 
for mixing with gutta-percha. We now have selected our two 
principal materials, and we place in the same pan say four 
pounds percha and one pound fat. Then mix and stir the 
percha and fat together with a painter's knife say ten inches 
long. You mix and stir for some time, the longer the better, 
because all the air must be exuded. The plate to be duplicated 
must be absolutely free from dirt. The temperature of the 
plate should be hot enough to enable one to touch the plate 
with the fingers, and no more. You plunge the knife in and 
then take a portion of the percha on the blade from out of the 
pan, and pour exactly in the center of the plate, and this must 
be done to prevent airholes. We have now poured a mold, 
and we immediately remove the same from the heat to a cold 
slab for cooling. After the mold has set and cooled, I take it, 
press the edge of the mold gently down, the original upward, 
and, if I find the mold loosen from the corners, I gently lift 
the original off by means of a paring knife. If I find the 
slightest tendency in the percha to cling to the original, I give 
the mold another half hour. You may find that the mold 
may never come off; in other words, it will stick for all it is 
worth. Well, that is caused by pouring your material too hot 
or on a dirty original. If your mold has creases or airholes, 
it is cold material, and all this can be overcome only by expe- 
rience. I face the mold by pouring and drying on the face a 


solution of phosphorus and silver nitrate, which immediately 
gives it sufficient conductibility to cover the mold by an ordi- 
nary Smee battery in thirty seconds." 

shells should be made extra heavy, so that the pressure or 
weight of the metal will not distort them or force to the 
surface those portions of the shell corresponding to the high 
lights in the picture and which are a trifle low in the engraving. 
The same caution applies to the vignette. It is too much to 
expect that electros will be absolutely perfect. There is prob- 
ably always some loss in reproduction, notwithstanding the 
claim of some electrotypers to the contrary. Sometimes the 
loss is hardly perceptible, but an expert will usually detect a 

PLATES. — The method most commonly employed is to back 
up the etching to the thickness of the book-plate, then fit it 
into the plate and secure it by soldering. Mr. P. M. Furlong's 
process, which is patented, is described as follows : A base 
or blank block is fitted under the etching to make it type-high, 
and, having been properly trimmed to fit into the type-form, 
the etching is removed and the base alone is locked up in the 
form with the type. The removal of the etching is necessary 
in order that the type may be blackleaded to cause it to freely 
release from the molding composition in the operation of mold- 
ing, and it being preferable that the face of the etching should 
not be blackleaded. After blackleading the type-form, the 
etching, having had its back thoroughly cleaned, is replaced 
face upward on the base within the form, with its face flush 
with the type, and then the surface of the molding composi- 
tion having been coated with plumbago, the form is molded 
in the usual way. When the mold thus obtained is lifted from 
the form, the etching will be found imbedded in and adhering 
to the molding composition, face inward. The mold contain- 
ing the etching is then blackleaded in the usual way prepara- 
tory to being placed in the electrotyping bath ; but, before 
being placed in the bath, the exposed back of the etching 


should be freed from black lead and scraped bright to insure 
the incorporation of the electro-deposited metal with the back 
and edges of the etching and in order that the metal may be 
deposited in a continuous and unbroken sheet over the edges 
of the etching to the back thereof and thereby form a perfect 
union between the electrotype and the etching, so that when 
the shell is removed from the mold it brings the etching with 
it, the two forming practically one plate, which, after having 
been freed from adhering wax or molding composition, may 
be backed with composition metal and finished in the same 
manner as ordinary electrotype plates. By this simple, direct 
and economical process, an absolutely perfect incorporation of 
an etching plate with an electrotype of reading matter is 

HALF-TONES, MOLDING.— Molding half-tones requires 
considerable skill and careful attention to every detail of the 
process. The molding composition must be of a certain tem- 
perature, which can not be described but must be learned by 
experience; the blackleading, washing and coating should be 
performed with the utmost care, to avoid filling up the minute 
hatches of the engraving; and, lastly, you should not attempt 
to mold half-tones in connection with type. Mold them sepa- 
rately, and, after the plates are finished, insert the engraving in 
the page. It is impossible to learn electrotype molding from 
written instructions. Skill comes only from long practice 
under the tutelage of an expert workman. 

HOLES IN SHELLS.— Holes in the shells are due either 
to defective blackleading, failure to remove the air from the 
mold by thorough wetting before placing in the bath, or the 
use of a current so strong that it causes the formation of 
hydrogen gas on the cathode. Defective blackleading may be 
caused by a poor quality of graphite or insufficient brushing. 
The best way to wet the surface of the mold is to place it 
face up in a tank partially filled with water in such a man- 
ner that the mold will be an inch or two under the surface, 
and then direct a stream of water from a rotary force pump 
on to the mold. If trouble is due to the third cause, the 


remedy is to reduce the speed of your dynamo or use an 
agitator. The latter is by far the best plan, as the agitator 
will not only dissipate the gas bubbles but will enable you to 
employ a current twice as strong as would be practicable with 
your solution test, and thus double the rate of deposition. 

HORSE-POWER. — One horse-power equals 746 watts. 
The unit of electric output: 1,000 watts equals 1.34 horse- 
power; I horse-power equals 746 amperes — with i-volt pres- 
sure causes 1.93 pounds of copper to be deposited per hour. 

HOT BOX, DUNTON'S.— The cabinet consists of two 
boxes, one built inside of the other and having an air space 
between them. The outer box should be constructed of heavy 
material, or, better still, of two thicknesses of board, with a 
lining of thick asbestos board between the wooden walls. 
This keeps all the heat on the inside. Both boxes should be 
built practically tight; that is, do not bore any holes through 
the walls of the inner box to communicate with the heat space 
between the boxes. This is unnecessary and a detriment to 
the satisfactory working of the cabinet. The radiating space 
between the outer and inner boxes should be at least six 
inches; that is, the walls of the inner box should be placed 
six inches from those of the outer, on the top, ends and sides, 
while on the under side there should be at least eight inches, 
and the floor of the inner box should be made of two thick- 
nesses, with a layer of asbestos paper between them. The heat- 
ing coils, consisting of six lengths of ^-inch steam pipe, should 
run lengthwise of the cabinet and be placed under the floor 
or bottom of the inner box. There should be at least six inches 
between the top of the pipes and the floor of the inner box, 
and they should be supported on iron rods going through the 
walls of the outer box. The doors and their casings need spe- 
cial attention ; they must not be made of a single thickness 
of wood, for this might spoil the satisfactory working of the 
whole affair. They should be constructed of two thicknesses 
of wood, with an air space between, similar to those on a 
refrigerator, and closed in on the sides, top and bottom, having 
holes of at least an inch in diameter bored at intervals on the 


four sides, corresponding to the same holes bored in the cas- 
ings, to connect the air spaces with the heat chamber of the 
cabinet. Both doors should be provided with springs, so that 
they will not be left open after molds have been taken out of 
or placed in the cabinet. The volume of heat can be regulated 
perfectly satisfactory by the manipulation of the valve in the 
steam pipe. The cabinet should stand up off the floor at least 
six inches, and be located handy to the wax shaver and filling 

INVENTIONS. — It is gratifying to note that inventors 
are taking up the subject of electrotyping and striving to 
produce more economical or more convenient methods of 
manufacture. The invention or discovery of a compound to 
satisfactorily anneal ozokerite may be mentioned as an indica- 
tion of what may be expected in the way of improvement. A 
firm of Brooklyn chemists has just put on the market a solder- 
ing fluid, ready for use, which does away with the use of 
muriatic acid and the disagreeable and unhealthy process of 
" killing " it with zinc. Another inventor claims to have dis- 
covered a material which acts as a precipitant of copper to be 
used in the place of iron filings, thus eliminating all danger of 
scratching the molds. The electrotyping business is suscepti- 
ble of much improvement. 

IRON DEPOSITION OF.— Deposition of iron, except for 
the purpose of " steel facing," is seldom practiced in this 
country, and there are probably not half a dozen establish- 
ments which are equipped for such work. In St. Petersburg, 
however, M. Klein has been very successful in producing elec- 
trotypes in iron, which are largely, if not exclusively, employed 
in the printing of state papers, documents, labels, etc. Some 
of these electrotypes, which were on exhibition at the Colum- 
bian Exposition, were very heavy and would indicate that there 
is no limit to the thickness which may be deposited with proper 

LEVELING ELECTROTYPES.— In a recent patented 
process for leveling electrotypes, the method consists in intro- 
ducing the backing pan and its contents into an air-tight 


chamber and of forcing artificially cooled air into the chamber 
at a high pressure in order to cool and level the electrotype. 

LITMUS PAPER. — Blue litmus paper is colored red by 
acid fluids, and red litmus paper blue, by alkaline fluids. By 
simultaneously dipping one-half a strip of blue and of red 
litmus paper in a solution, the reaction of the fluid can be 
judged from the change in color and the rapidity and intensity 
of its appearance. 

MEASURING INSTRUMENTS.— Instruments for meas- 
uring electric currents should be included in the equipment of 
every well-ordered electrotyping establishment. In the early 
days of the art, it was sufficient to know that a current of some 
kind was at work and that in the course of time a shell of the 
desired thickness would be deposited. It might take twelve 
hours at one time and eighteen at another, but a few hours 
more or less was not considered of serious moment. With 
the modern electrotyper, however, every minute counts, and, 
as a rule, he employs all the current which can be utilized 
without " burning " the deposit. Having learned by experience 
what quantity may be employed to advantage, it is of great 
convenience to be able to measure the current and by means of 
the proper registering instruments maintain the pressure at 
the maximum point. The voltmeter and ammeter are also 
useful indicators of the condition of the solution. For instance, 
with the solution properly proportioned and the tanks con- 
nected in multiple, a pressure of 2^^ volts should produce a 
current strength of about seventy-five amperes per square foot 
of cathode. If the ammeter registers less, it is an indication 
that the solution is deficient in acid. 

POINT OF.— Antimony, 840° F.; copper, 1,196° F.; lead, 
617° F.; tin, 773° F. 

METAL ELECTROTYPE.— Electrotype backing metal 
is composed of lead, tin and antimony. The proportions may 
vary somewhat. The most popular formula is : Lead, 90 
pounds; tin, 5 pounds, and antimony, 5 pounds. However, 6 


pounds of tin and 4 pounds of antimony, or 6 pounds of anti- 
mony and 4 pounds of tin, may be employed with good results. 
Electrotype metal fuses at about 600° F. 

METAL-POTS, CAPACITY OF.— To calculate the con- 
tents of a round pot, multiply the cube of the diameter by the 
decimal .5236 and divide by 2, to find the number of cubic 
inches. To calculate the contents of a square pot in cubic 
inches, multiply the length, breadth and depth together. On 
account of the slope in the walls of the pot, the length and 
breadth measurements should be taken at a point equally 
distant from the top and bottom of the pot. A cubic inch of 
stereo metal weighs 6.15 ounces. A cubic inch of electro metal 
weighs 6.28 ounces. 

GRAVITY OF.— Antimony, 6.70; copper, 8.889; lead, 8.01; 
tin, T.z. 

MOLDING COMPOSITION.— Most molders have their 
own opinion as to what constitutes the best molding composi- 
tion. Possibly no two of them use exactly the same com- 
bination of ingredients, and yet all produce excellent results. 
Some of the best molders still use beeswax and decline to 
accept a substitute ; others use ozokerite ; others " crask " 
wax, which has ozokerite for a base ; others a combination 
of ozokerite and beeswax, or " crask " wax and beeswax. 
All molding compositions are subject to changes, caused by 
repeated meltings and coolings, changes of temperature, etc. 
The skilled molder watches his wax and adds from time to 
time the material necessary to preserve its virtue. A good 
molding composition may be made by mixing together pure 
beeswax, 85 per cent ; crude turpentine, 10 per cent ; plum- 
bago, 5 per cent. In summer add 5 per cent burgundy pitch. 
Ozokerite may be substituted for beeswax and is becoming 
popular as a molding composition. The following mixture is 
specially recommended by Mr. George E. Dunton : 10 pounds 
ozokerite, Y^ pound vaseline and % to y2 pounds of white- 
pine pitcli. If by long use the composition becomes hardened. 


it may be annealed by adding from time to time a small quan- 
tity of vaseline. 

parts (by weight) of gelatin in 24 parts of water, over a slow 
fire ; when dissolved, add i part beeswax cut up in small 
pieces. The mixture should be warm but not hot when used. 
Before applying the composition, the plaster casts should be 
well brushed with oil. The following composition is recom- 
mended by Mr. George E. Dunton : " Select 10 pounds of the 
best cabinetmaker's glue and put it to soak over night in S 
pints water. The semi-plastic mass should be heated over a 
water bath until it becomes of the consistency of thick syrup. 
To this mass should be added 2J/2 pounds of a good quality 
of molasses and i pound of pure glycerin, and thoroughly 
incorporated by stirring. The molasses and glycerin must not 
be added until within one-half hour from the time the compo- 
sition is to be poured. Never try to make up this composition 
in a kettle sitting directly over the blaze of a fire." This 
composition is suitable for obtaining a reverse mold of objects 
which may not themselves be suspended in the bath. When 
the mold has been obtained, a duplicate of the original should 
be made by pouring wax into the elastic mold. This wax cast 
may be suspended in the bath and deposited upon, thus secur- 
ing a metallic reverse upon which a duplicate of the original 
may be deposited. 

molding presses in one of the larger electrotyping establish- 
ments in New York are operated by accumulators, in which a 
pressure of 1,000 pounds to the square inch is maintained by a 
suitable pump. When the pressure in the accumulators reaches 
one thousand pounds an automatic governor stops the pump, 
which starts again when the pressure is diminished by reason 
of the operation of the presses. Pressure is applied to the 
presses by simply turning a valve, and, as the pressure is con- 
tinuous, the travel of tiie press bed is much more rapid than is 
the case when the pump is attached to the press. The plant 
would be considered very expensive by most electrotypers, and 


for that reason this method of molding is not likely to become 

MOLDING WAX, TO SOFTEN.— A new composition 
for softening wax which has become dry and brittle has 
recently been put on the market and is sold by dealers in elec- 
trotyping supplies. It is called Ozo Compound, and is highly 
recommended by many electrotype molders. 

MOLDS, BLISTERED.— Blisters are sometimes due to 
moisture in the wax. It may be due to adulteration. The 
trouble may be partially remedied by burning down the case 
before molding. Skimming the case with a hot wire will also 
help to remove the moisture. 

MOLDS, COATING.— When spots appear on the molds 
which do not coat readily, the difficulty may be due to the fact 
that the mold has not been thoroughly wetted, and may be 
remedied by using stronger alcohol or a more powerful stream 
of water. Greasy iron filings might also cause the trouble. 

NICKEL ELECTROTYPES.— To deposit nickel on wax 
molds, blacklead the mold in the usual manner and increase 
the conductivity by floating the surface of the mold with a 
solution made by dissolving phosphorus in wood alcohol to 
saturation. After floating the mold with the phosphorus solu- 
tion, rinse in running water and repeat the operation. Mold 
will cover in five minutes, and, after ten minutes, may be 
removed from the bath, rinsed and immediately placed in the 
copper bath. An interesting invention comes from Louis 
Boudreaux, of Paris, France. In order to produde electrotypes 
in nickel, he covers the wax (before taking the impression) 
with powdered bronze, the coating with graphite being omitted. 
In this way he secures a surface of wax that, when placed in 
the bath, will permit the adhesion of the nickel and result in 
the quick building up of a shell. As is well known, if electro- 
plating is undertaken with nickel, after the manner of copper, 
the small amount of adhesion of the nickel to the graphite 
often causes a failure. The inventor further claims that a 


metallic surface, as of bronze, on the wax is much better for 
electroplating with any metal than is the plumbago surface. 

from electrotypes with colored inks, more especially with inks 
which are prepared from a mercurial pigment, such as red, 
brown or vermilion, not only is the surface of the electrotype 
injuriously affected by the mercury forming an amalgam with 
the copper, but the brilliant colors are also seriously impaired 
by the decomposition which occurs. To avoid this, it is best 
to give electrotypes to be used for such purposes a coating of 
nickel, which effectually protects the copper from wear and 
the action of the mercury, and seemingly brightens the color 
of the ink. It is absolutely necessary that the face of the 
electrotype should be chemically clean, in order that the nickel 
deposit may adhere to the copper. After printing-plates have 
been nickeled, they should be rinsed in clear water, then 
plunged in hot water and dried in sawdust. It is claimed that 
nickeled plates will take ink better if they are also brushed with 
fine whiting. 

be conflicting opinions regarding the nickel-plating of half- 
tones, the usual impression being that the cut becomes filled 
up. While this may be true to a certain extent, the effect so 
produced is far less than is generally supposed. This may be 
determined by depositing a good plating of nickel on one por- 
tion of a first-class electrotype and comparing the plated and 
unloaded portions under the microscope. Some nickel-plated 
electrotypes, made for the purpose of determining this point, 
appeared to be equally as sharp as nickeltypes from the same 
originals, the amount of nickel on the plated cuts being con- 
siderable, .001 inch or more, as judged by the time and current. 
The reason of this may be found in the fact that nickel deposits 
in a very smooth condition, and that the current densities 
during plating being greater at points nearest the anode, more 
metal would be deposited upon the printing surface than in 
the depth of the dots, thus, if anything, increasing the depth 
of the half-tone plate. Deterioration, if any occurs, would 


seem to be due to a decrease in the diameter of the dots in 
the half-tones and the accumulation of nickel on the high- 
light points, causing the impression in printing to be darker. 
In practice, it is doubtful if such an effect could be noticed. 

NICKEL SOLUTION.— The following formula is recom- 
mended by Dunton : To make a solution in which nickel will 
be deposited as near faultlessly as it is possible in an alkaline 
bath, the proportion of the nickel-ammonium sulphate should 
be J/2 pound to the gallon of boiling water, and make this 
volume of water slightly less than the bulk of the desired 
solution is to be. If the solution is to be 12 gallons, dissolve 
5 pounds of the sulphate in 10 gallons of boiling water, stir- 
ring until the sulphate is all dissolved ; then strain off into 
the tub, and add 2 gallons of cold water. Allow it to stand 
until the temperature has fallen to 70°, and test with the 
hydrometer. If it registers 5°, or even a half degree less, 
it is in condition to work; but if more than that, it must be 
reduced with cold water to that point, to obtain the best 
results. Outside of the advised addition of certain organic 
acids, certain theorists have recommended the addition of all 
kinds of nitrates, sulphates, carbonates, citrates, sodium, mag- 
nesium, potassium and calcium chlorids ; but, as the result of 
my personal experiment, I would advise the reader to leave 
them all entirely out of his prospective nickel baths. The 
results without their addition will be far more satisfactory. 
The nickel bath will be found quite a troublesome customer 
to keep in sorts, as it is supposed to be kept at a state of 
neutrality that is neither alkaline nor acid ; if either, I believe 
it should show a very slight acid reaction. This state may be 
tested for, and proved, by the ordinary " litmus paper," which 
should be always kept handy to the tub. Either the blue or 
red will answer the purpose equally well. If the red is used, 
first dip in strong ammonia, which will turn it a deep blue, 
proving that the ammonia is strongly alkaline. Allow the 
paper to dry (it will retain the blue color) ; now dip it in the 
solution and allow to dry. If, upon drying, the color has 
.changed to a reddish purple, between the red and the blue, 



in which neither predominates, the sohition will yield the best 
results. If it should turn a reddish tint as soon as drawn 
from the liquid, rest assured there is too much acid in the 
solution, and the deposit will peel. If the paper retains its 
blue, the solution is too alkaline and will yield a deposit which 
will prove too brittle or hard. A very slight reaction toward 
the red is prolific of the best results. If the solution becomes 
too acid, the addition of a small quantity of ammonium sulphate 
will correct the fault ; if too alkaline, the nickel sulphate. 
Consequently, it is an easy matter to keep the contents of the 
solution constant. A simple bath, which has been thoroughly 
tested in some of the largest electrotype foundries in the 
country, is made by dissolving the double sulphate of nickel 
and ammonia in warm water, in the proportion of three- 
quarters of a pound of the salts in each gallon of water. The 
procedure is the same that has been recommended for the 
copper solution, i. e., the salts should be suspended in cheese- 
cloth bags just under the surface of the water until entirely 
dissolved, when the solution should be thoroughly stirred, and 
is then ready for use. 

NICKELTYPES. — Nickeltypes possess three principal 
advantages over electrotypes for half-tone reproduction : First, 
they are much more durable ; second, they take ink better, 
particularly colored inks, and, third, the method of their manu- 
facture is such that there is less danger of scratching or 
injuring the mold than in the ordinary methods of electrotyp- 
ing. Probably the chief advantage of the nickeltype is found 
in the fact that it is not affected by colored inks, although due 
consideration should be given to the other points mentioned. 

NICKELTYPING. — The proper anodes for the purpose 
are so hard that they are subjected to 4,000 degrees of heat 
in casting, and, when coming in contact with the sand, a thin 
scale or coating is formed on the outside, which causes irregu- 
lar deposit and gives the anode the appearance of being 
veneered or plated. This outer covering also contains an 
indefinite quantity of iron (carbon), which, if liberated in the 
solution to an excessive degree, will stratify the latter to an 


extent of causing endless trouble. Where this iron oxid comes 
in contact with the cathode before the shell is perfectly formed, 
further development is checked, and the next deposit, or back- 
ing, comes through to the face, giving a faulty plate, the sur- 
face either being rough or copper specks and spots showing 
through. If this same oxid is allowed to dry or adhere to the 
nickel shell after it is perfectly formed, the copper or tinfoil 
will not unite perfectly, and the shell will be lost and blister 
or peel oflf. These are the genuine blisters, and should not be 
confounded with the so-called globular and irregular blisters 
that arise when depositing the nickel shell. These are not 
blisters, but, more properly, gas-blows, caused by the current, 
solution, anode and cathode surface exposed not harmonizing. 
A certain amount of effervescence during deposition is neces- 
sary to insure quick, bright and perfect deposit; too little 
retards the work; too much produces the defects mentioned, 
which are next to impossible to eradicate after the shell is 
backed up, especially in half-tones. 

ing nickel on wax molds, it is desirable that the mold shall be 
covered as quickly as possible. To promote this end, it is 
well to extend a loop of wire entirely around the mold, sinking 
it into the wax and having it long enough so that the ends 
may be bent into hooks for suspending the mold in the bath. 
By observing this method, deposition will begin on all sides 
of the molds at once, instead of beginning at the top and 
spreading down over the entire length of the mold, as is the 
case when the ordinary electrotyping connection is employed. 
With the loop-wire method, the mold will cover in from two 
to three minutes. 

NICKELTYPES, DEFECTIVE.— Depressions in the face 
of nickeltype plates are due to gas bubbles, caused usually by 
too strong a current. Nickeltyping is not an easy proposition, 
and, to be successful, all the conditions must be just right. The 
current and solution must harmonize. To ascertain the proper 
strength of current is a matter of experiment, and for this 


purpose depositing apparatus should include a rheostat, by 
means of which the current may be varied at will. 

OZO COMPOUND.— The quantity of ozo compound to 
be added to the molding wax or ozokerite varies with the 
season of the year and the condition (or quality) of the wax. 
Start with from one pint to one quart to each fifty pounds of 
wax, adding more until the wax is soft enough. Most of the 
ozokerite in use is of inferior grades. The less pure ozokerite 
is the more crude oil it contains and the lower its melting 
point, requiring less ozo compound. Beware of an overdose, 
as it takes some time to get the wax into shape in case of an 
overdose. The best molds are made with pure ozokerite 
reduced with ozo compound. Never heat the forms, and use 
cold cases or molds. In lifting forms out of the mold, give a 
steady, strong pull. The form will not release quite so easily 
from a cold case as from a heated case, but the results will be 
better from the cold case. 

OZOKERITE, TO SOFTEN.— When ozokerite molding 
composition becomes hard and brittle, add vaseline, or ozo 
compound, a little at a time, until it becomes sufficiently soft 
and plastic. 

OZOKERITE, TO HARDEN.— In hot weather, if the 
composition becomes too soft, add a very little of pine tur- 

brush the objects with solution of sal ammoniac in vinegar, 
the action of the solution being accelerated by the addition of 
verdigris. A solution of 9 drams of sal ammoniac and 2J4 
drams of potassium binoxalate, in i quart of vinegar, acts still 
better. When the first coat is dry, wash the object and repeat 
the manipulation, drying and washing after each application, 
until a green patina is formed. It is best to bring the article, 
after being brushed over, into a hermetically sealed box, upon 
the bottom of which a few shallow dishes containing very 
dilute sulphuric acid and a few pieces of marble are placed. 


PEELING, TO PREVENT.— The great difficulty in nick- 
eltyping is peeling of the deposit before a sufficient thickness 
has been attained. To prevent peeling, the solution and the 
current must be of just the right strength. To enable the 
operator to work intelligently, a voltmeter and a rheostat 
should be included in the circuit. The current may then be 
suited to existing conditions and varied at the will of the 
workman. Nickel is a somewhat obstinate metal to deposit, 
and requires careful attention. It will not adhere to surfaces 
which are not absolutely clean, and even then will peel if left 
in the bath too long, or if deposited with too strong a current. 
The printing surfaces which are to be nickeled should be 
scrubbed with hot lye or brushed with lime paste, and then 
thoroughly washed in running water, after which they should 
be immediately suspended in the bath. They should not be 
allowed to dry or be touched with the hands ; with a current 
of two to three volts tension, fifteen or twenty minutes in the 
bath will be sufficient. The plates should be separated from 
the anode by a distance of six or seven inches. 

PINHOLES. — Shells which are defective by reason of 
" pinholes " are very annoying. The usual cause is insufficient 
blackleading, or failure to blow out the lead thoroughly after 
the mold has come out of the machine. There are other 
causes, however, among which may be mentioned the forma- 
tion of gas bubbles in the depressions of the mold, and an 
insufficiency of acid in the solution when working with a very 
strong current. The second cause may be remedied by employ- 
ing an agitator. The remedy for the first and third causes is 

sion of an iron article in an ordinary solution of copper sul- 
phate, such as is employed in electrotyping, will produce 
sufficient action, chemical or electrotlytic, or both, to form a 
very thin coating of copper on the iron. Steel pens, needles, 
etc., are coppered by revolving them in a tumbling-box with 
sawdust moistened with a solution made by dissolving i^ 
ounces of blue vitriol in lo quarts of water, and adding i^ 


ounces of pure sulphuric acid. Brush coppering is executed 
as follows : The utensils required are two vessels of sufficient 
size, each provided with a brush. One vessel contains a 
strongly saturated solution of caustic soda, and the other a 
strongly saturated solution of blue vitriol. The well-cleansed 
object is first uniformly coated with the caustic soda and then 
with the blue vitriol. A quite thick film of copper is immedi- 
ately deposited. Care must be taken not to take the brush too 
full, and not to touch a second time the place once gone over, 
as otherwise the copper will not adhere firmly. 

POSTAGE STAMP PLATES.— The United States post- 
age stamps are printed on a steam press, from steel plates, and 
not from electrotypes. The original is engraved on soft steel 
and then casehardened, and this hardened die or original is 
pressed into the rim of a soft steel roller, which is also case- 
hardened, and from this hardened roller any number of dupli- 
cates are made on soft steel, which are again hardened before 

RAPID ELECTROTYPING.— Mr. J. A. Corey, manager 
of the electrotyping department of His Majesty's printing- 
office, claims to have invented a depositing apparatus which 
enables him to successfully employ 220 amperes per square 
foot. No more time is required to prepare the mold for the 
bath than is usually necessary. He hopes soon to be able to 
give the trade full particulars of this depositor. The full sig- 
nificance of Mr. Corey's announcement may be realized when 
it is remembered that the average electrotyper employs from 
forty to seventy-five amperes per foot. Mr. Corey's invention, 
if practical, would reduce about two-thirds the time at present 
required ior depositing. 

RESISTANCE. — Resistance is that quality in an object 
which prevents more than a certain amount of current passing 
through it in a given time, when impelled by a given electro- 
motive force. The resistance of a conductor is equal to the 
time required for a unit quantity of electricity (i. e., a 
coulomb) to pass through it, while its two ends are maintained 
at a unit diflference of potential, i. e., at one volt. The unit 


of resistance is termed an ohm. The resistance of liquids as 
compared with metals is enormous, the resistance of a satu- 
rated solution of blue vitriol being 16,885,520 times greater 
than copper. The resistance of a wire is directly proportional 
to its length, and inversely to its sectional area or weight, per 
unit of length. Conductivity is the reverse of resistance. By 
rise of temperature, the conductive resistance of metals is 
increased, and of electrolytes is decreased; thus warm solu- 
tions facilitate deposition. 

RESISTANCE BOARD.— The switchboard, or resistance 
board, consists of a number of metallic spirals, usually of Ger- 
man silver, arranged on a board in such a manner that one 
or more of them may be switched into the circuit, thus pre- 
senting more or less resistance, as may be desired, to the 
passage of the current. 

REVERSE ELECTROTYPING.— To prevent the deposit 
from adhering to a metallic matrix, clean the matrix thor- 
oughly and then flow over it a very weak solution of potas- 
sium sulphuret. An impalpable film will effectually prevent 
adhesion of the deposit. This process is found very useful in 
the production of reverses and in the manufacture of embos- 
sing dies. 

SAWS, CARE OF. — Royle says: If new saws do not 
run true sideways, get the manufacturers of them to remedy 
the trouble. The eye of the saw should always fit the mandrel 
nicely. Never use a hammer on the spindle nut — a wrench is 
provided especially for this nut. A piece of emery wheel or 
grindstone is good for truing up a saw. Do not use a saw 
that is out of round. See that every tooth in the saw cuts. 
To set a saw truly, much care is needed. Avoid too much set. 
Set over only the points of the teeth. Use as little set as 
possible. Never use a nail punch for setting. Work with a 
sharp saw. Don't be stingy with saws; keep an assortment. 
Specially good workmen should have saws for their special 
use. Change saws to suit the work required — remember that 
this can be readily done. The smaller saw that is suitable is 
the preferable one to use. A sharp, true saw is required for 


good work. A dull saw is a dangerous one. Avoid a high 
ripping gauge, or fence, when a low one will answer. Before 
ripping stuff, try the ripping gauge to see if it is parallel with 
the saw. A good test of this is to rip a short piece to a 
width, and see if, as it passes through, it just glides along the 
edge of the saw-blade, touching it lightly. Adjust the table 
top so that the saw will just reach through the stuff. While 
sawing, keep your eyes on your work. Use great caution, but 
avoid timidity. A smoking saw needs sharpening. Flying 
smoke means trouble for the saw. Burnt and buckled saws 
indicate carelessness. A buckled saw is a bad one. Screech- 
ing saws have long teeth. Avoid high or long teeth. Joint 
off the saw frequently, and, when you do so, remove it to the 
clamps for filing. File straight across. In filing, first sharpen 
the face or front of the tooth, then file off the back of the 
same tooth. Save time by filing from one side. Different 
persons should not file the same saw. Why use a fleam-toothed 
saw for crosscutting when a fine-tooth rip will answer? Try 
it. Fleam teeth are unnecessary except for special work. Too 
thin saws will screech and run. A good sawyer is known by 
the saws that he keeps. Avoid a worn throat-piece — renew it 
frequently. Most accidents arise from carelessness. Have the 
belt-shifter work freely; control it with the foot. It is essen- 
tial that the belts be even in thickness throughout their entire 
length. The spindle belt, at least, should have no rivets or 
lacings; all joints should be lap-glued or cemented. 

SERIES, ELECTROTYPING IN.— There is no object in 
connecting two tanks in series unless you use twice the E. M. 
F. you would on one tank. The primary advantage in con- 
necting tanks in series is found in the general principle of 
electric distribution — that a given amount of power or energy 
is conveyed more cheaply at a high pressure than at a low 
pressure. Next, it is easier to build a machine of a given 
capacity for high pressure and low current than for low pres- 
sure and high current. The current capacity of a dynamo is 
determined by the cross-section of the armature conductors. 
A four-pole armature wound with J<2-inch copper rods has a 


capacity of 1,500 amperes. It will get too hot on a high cur- 
rent. Suppose you are working quiet solutions : i volt is 
enough E. M. F. per tank, and 20 amperes per square foot 
of cathode, we will say, is the current required. If this 1,500- 
ampere armature is revolved in such a field and such a speed as 
to develop or generate i volt, it is evident that tanks in parallel 
only can be used — or one big tank. The surface that can be 
covered at a maximum rate is 1,500 divided by 20, or 75 square 
feet. If, however, this same armature be revolved in such a 
field and at such a speed as to generate 2 volts, its current 
capacity will in no wise be affected, and you can use the cur- 
rent twice over, consuming i volt in its first passage through 
the solution, and the remaining i volt in its second passage, 
and so on. If a 1,500-ampere armature be revolved in a field 
which will produce 10 volts, a corresponding number of tanks 
can be operated, each depositing for a maximum on 75 square 
feet of surface. A water-power may, perhaps, give a simple 
analogy. Suppose 1,000 cubic feet per minute is flowing in a 
given stream. It is evident that, with 20-foot fall or head, 
twice the work can be accomplished that can be with a lo-foot 
head. From the fact that the E. M. F. of an armature is 
dependent on three things, namely, turns of armature, strength 
of field, and velocity, it follows that an armature built for 
1,500 amperes and i volt can not be used for 1,500 amperes 
and 5 volts, without making an enormously large field and 
running it at a prohibitory speed. Therefore, a change in E. 
M. F. above 25 per cent, on small, slow-speed machines, 
demands a rearrangement of parts and different windings. 
There is no object in taking a dynamo of 3 volts or less and 
putting it on two tanks either in series or in parallel, for, if 
the solution be agitated, the entire 3 volts may be used in 
one tank. 

SILVER ELECTROTYPING.— Silver is occasionally 
used in special cases for copying works of art or even valuable 
engraved steel plates. Ordinary wax and gutta-percha molds, 
such as are used for copper electrotyping, are not admissible 
for silvering, because they are to some extent attacked by the 


cyanid solutions. The simplest method of obtaining replicas of 
works of art in silver is to obtain, first, a thin electrotype shell 
of copper from the intaglio mold, and then to deposit silver 
upon this in the cyanid bath. The copper protecting film may 
be of the thinnest, so that it shall not destroy the sharpness 
of the lines, but it must, of course, be subsequently removed, 
after the required thickness of silver has been deposited, and 
the whole electro separated from the mold. This solution of 
the copper may be effected by treatment with warm hydro- 
chloric acid, or, better, with a warm solution of iron per- 
chlorid, either of which will attack the copper but leave the 
silver untouched. On the removal of the copper, the pure 
silver surface has the required form in practically undimin- 
ished sharpness and brilliancy. The silver may be built up 
to a thickness of one-eighth of an inch or more. It is seldom, 
however, that this process is required, and practically the sole 
application of electro-silvering is -to be found in the coating 
of other metals to endow them with properties which they do 
not themselves possess. 

silver, i ounce; water, lo ounces; add liquid ammonia until 
the brown precipitate is redissolved ; then add 90 ounces 
water. (2) A i per cent solution of formaldehyde. Mix two 
parts of I with one part of 2. Flood the surface to be silvered. 
In fifteen to twenty minutes wash in running water. 

remembered that the solution is a conductor of the current in 
the same sense that the rods are, and should be considered in 
that capacity as well as a dissolving medium. Pure sulphate 
of copper solution is an extremely poor conductor. The addi- 
tion of sulphuric acid improves its conductivity, but under the 
most favorable conditions its resistance is several milKons of 
times greater than copper. To reduce this resistance to a point 
where the liquid will not become appreciably heated by the 
passage of a strong current, it is necessary to provide an 
exceedingly large area of conducting fluid and to suspend the 
anodes and cathodes as near together as possible, say two or 


three inches apart. According to Joule's law, the develop- 
ment of heat will be greater the smaller the cross section of 
the conductor and conducting capacity are, and the larger the 
quantity of current which passes through it. If, therefore, 
it is desired to employ a very strong current, the vat must be 
larger in proportion to the size of the anodes than would be 
necessary with a moderate current. 

two ways of measuring the content of copper in a solution, 
both of which require accurate instruments and the facilities 
of a laboratory. The simplest and best method is that of 
electrolysis. A very delicate and accurate scale is required, 
capable of measuring i-ioo of a grain. The process is 
described by McMillan as follows : " A platinum dish about 
three-quarters of an inch to an inch in height, and about three 
inches in diameter, forms a convenient cathode, at once hold- 
ing the solution and receiving the deposited metal. The anode 
consists of a circular plate of stout platinum foil about 2^ 
inches in diameter, with several perforations to allow gas to 
escape from beneath it. The platinum sheet is fastened hori- 
zontally, without solder, to the end of a vertical platinum wire, 
attached to the positive pole of the battery, the platinum dish 
making contact externally with a copper wire attached to the 
negative pole. Instead of this, a cylinder of platinum foil 
may be used as a cathode, being suspended with its main axis 
vertical within a small beaker, the anode consisting of a coil 
of platinum wire placed within the cathode. The object of 
the electrolysis method is to continue the action of the current 
until every trace of copper is precipitated on the platinum 
cathode, and, as the latter should have been weighed pre- 
viously, the increase of weight shown after deposition gives 
the number of grains of metal in the quantity of solution taken. 
It is possible to separate every trace of copper from the solu- 
tion, so this method rhay be made to give absolutely accurate 
results. Half an ounce of the liquid may be employed, and 
electrolysis is continued until the liquid is decolorized and a 


drop removed from it strikes no blue color with an excess of 

SOLUTION, HOT, REMEDY FOR.— Heating of the 
solution is caused by resistance. This is always the cause of 
heat, and the way to minimize resistance is to increase the 
capacity of the conductors. The solution is a conductor of 
the current from the anode to the cathode. It is a very poor 
conductor, however, as all solutions are, and must, therefore, 
have a large area to compensate for what it lacks in quality. 
Under ordinary conditions the cross-sectional area of the solu- 
tion should be at least twice as great as the area of the anode ; 
with a very strong current, the cross-sectional area of the solu- 
tion should be at least three times that of the anode. In other 
words, if the anode is 15 by 20 inches, the vat should be 32 
inches wide and the solution 28 inches deep. A current of 
sufficient strength to deposit good shells in one hour requires 
large conductors, and this applies not only to the copper rods 
but to the solution, which is also a conductor. Moreover, the 
solution is a very poor conductor, and what it lacks in respect 
of quality must be made up so far as possible in quantity. The 
cross-sectional area of the solution should be from two to 
three times the area of the case. 























1. 147 








I 157 




1. 615 


1. 014 


1. 166 


1. 361 






1. 176 








1. 185 




1. 671 




1. 195 


1. 401 




1. 041 




1. 414 






1. 215 






I 057 














1. 771 
















1. 815 














1. 515 




1. 104 




1. 531 




1. 113 








1. 121 


1. 312 




I 935 


I. 130 








1. 138 

Note. — The specific gravity of a solution is rapidly ascertained by 
floating a hydrometer in it. This instrument sinks deeper in solutions 
of low density than in those of high gravity, and the actual gravity is 
found by the level at which the liquid stands on the graduated portion 
when the apparatus is floating freely in it. Hydrometers of this kind 
are sometimes graduated so that the specific gravity is read off direct 
from the scale, others are graduated by Baume's method, and the reading 
may then be converted into the number representing the true density, by 
reference to the above table. 

STATISTICS. — A London writer states that there are 
fourteen electrotype foundries in that city, whose total output 
is £80,000 (approximately $400,000) yearly. In Chicago there 
are twenty foundries, having an estimated output of over 
$500,000. Prices in the two cities do not differ materially, 
while the population of London is probably three times that of 
Chicago. On the basis of population, as compared with Chi- 
cago, London should support sixty electrotype foundries and 
should produce $1,500,000 worth of electrotypes annually. It 
is evident that English printers do not employ electrotypes 
as extensively as the Americans, and one reason for this may 


be found in the popularity of stereotyping. Nearly every large 
printing establishment operates a stereotyping plant, and it is, 
to a certain extent, independent of the electrotypers. In Chi- 
cago, very little job-printing is done from stereotypes. Few 
printers have facilities for doing their own stereotyping, and, 
when purchasing plates, most of them prefer to pay the extra 
cost for electrotypes. 

SWEATING. — Shave the top of the base and the back of 
the plate so as to have clean, smooth surfaces. Do not shave 
the bottom of the base. Brush over the shaved surface of the 
base with soldering fluid, made by dissolving scraps of zinc 
in muriatic acid to saturation, and diluting with an equal bulk 
of water. After covering the surface of the base with a sheet 
of tinfoil, place it on an iron plate and float it in your metal- 
pot. When the tin begins to melt, remove the base from the 
metal-pot, place the electro upon it, and immediately clamp 
them together. The back of the electro should have been pre- 
viously brushed over with the soldering fluid. The plate and 
base may be clamped together with an ordinary hand clamp, or 
more than one if the plate is large, first protecting the face 
of the plate by laying upon it a piece of smooth board. In 
this method of blocking, advantage is taken of the fact that 
tin fuses at a much lower temperature than stereotype or 
electrotype metal, and also that clean, bright metal fuses much 
more readily than old metal, or, strictly speaking, metal which 
has become oxidized. Because of this latter fact, it is impor- 
tant that the bottom of the base should not be shaved, as the 
film of oxid protects it to a considerable extent and insures the 
fusing of the tin before the base metal is attacked. 

Mr. J. S. Sunderland, in " Penrose's Pictorial Annual," advises 
that in making electrotypes of fine-screen plates no brush 
should be allowed to come in contact with the molded surface. 
He produces a conducting surface by polishing the wax sur- 
face before molding, not merely brushing over the case with 
molding lead, but giving it a real polish. Dixon's and Mor- 
gan's polishing lead in equal proportions is recommended. 


Cover the wax mold with a sheet of paper while trimming, and 
only blacklead the parts cut with the trimming knife. The 
result will be electrotypes equal in every respect to the origi- 

VATS, GLASS RAILS FOR.— Electrotypers' depositing 
vats are usually lined with lead, which is turned over the top 
edges of the tank to guard against any possibility of leakage. 
To insulate the rods from the metal lining, a wooden rail is 
fitted over the top edges of the vat on top of the lead. So 
long as the wood remains dry, the insulation is effectual, but 
eventually it becomes saturated with the solution and must be 
removed. With an agitated solution, the life of the wood is 
shorter than when a quiescent solution is employed, but in 
either case it is only a question of time when the wooden rail 
will become saturated and rotten, and in this condition it 
becomes a conductor of the current and creates a short circuit 
which absorbs more or less of the energy of the current. The 
life of the rail may be prolonged by giving it several coats of 
waterproof paint, but a more cleanly and altogether more 
satisfactory plan is to substitute for the wooden rails strips of 
heavy glass about one inch in thickness. Such strips may be 
procured from glass dealers at small expense, and, with a 
couple of holes drilled and countersunk in each, to provide a 
means of securing them to the vat, they furnish a neat and 
serviceable finish for the vat and provide a reliable insulation 
for the rods. 

— Acetic acid and table salt will aid in removing the objection- 
able spots. First dissolve the salt thoroughly in the acid. It 
is then ready for use. Use a nail-brush or tooth-brush to apply 
the wash. Do this carefully to avoid scratching the face of the 
plates. This wash will not remove the enamel from original 
copper engravings. After cleaning the plates, rub a little 
kerosene over them before and after use. Creosote will also 
be found a good remover of verdigris from copper surfaces. 

WASHING ELECTRO SHELLS.— Backing up electro 
shells without washing is a very objectionable practice. Even 


when washed with hot lye there is likely to be some wax 
remaining, which will be burned to the backing pan, rendering 
it uneven and making lots of trouble in finishing plates. 

WRINKLES IN SHELLS.— Wrinkles in shells are 
caused by wrinkles in the molds. Unless the molds are care- 
fully examined, they would not be noticed, but close inspection 
in a strong light will detect them. 

WATT. — A watt is a current of one ampere, at a pressure 
of one volt; equal to 1-746 of a horse-power. 

WAX ENGRAVING. — The term wax engraving is, in one 
sense, misleading, for, while wood, zinc, copper and steel 
engravings and etchings may be printed direct from the origi- 
nals, the wax engraving, like the chalk-plate engraving, can 
not be utilized direct. The wax engraving is, in fact, a mold 
into or upon which copper or other metal must be deposited 
by the electrotyping process in order to obtain a printing sur- 
face. To make a wax engraving, a plate of copper or other 
metal is thinly coated with wax. The design which is to be 
reproduced as a printing-plate is then drawn through the wax 
upon the plate beneath. In the reproduction of wood engra- 
vings, zinc etchings, etc., by the electrotype process, a mold of 
the object is made by impressing it in a bed of wax. The wax 
mold is then suspended in the depositing bath, and the deposit 
formed upon it will obviously be an exact duplicate of the 
original. But we do not want a duplicate of the wax engra- 
ving. What we do want is a reverse. So, instead of making 
a mold, we hang the engraving in the solution, and deposit 
directly upon it. The process of making an electrotype of wax 
engraving from this point on is just the same as making an 
electrotype of any other printing surface. Previous to immer- 
sion in the bath, the spaces between the engraved lines are 
built up with wax. The engraving is then blackleaded, a film 
of copper is precipitated upon it by the iron-filings process, to 
increase the conductivity of the mold, and the connections 
adjusted. When a shell of sufficient thickness has been 
deposited, it is removed in the usual manner, backed up with 


metal, straightened, mounted on a wood or metal base, and is 
then ready for the press. ' 

WAX-KETTLES. — For melting beeswax or ozokerite, 
a steam- jacketed kettle should always be employed. Never 
heat by gas or fire, as there would be great danger of over- 
heating and spoiling the composition. 

WAX MOLDS, METALIZING.— The following methods 
of making the surface of wax molds conductive are recom- 
mended by Langbein, Urquhart and Watt. Take equal parts of 
albumen (white of egg) and a saturated solution of common 
salt, and apply the mixture to the mold by means of a soft 
brush. Then dry the surface thoroughly. Now make a strong 
solution of nitrate of silver and dip the mold into it for a few 
minutes, and dry again. Expose the mold to a strong light 
until it becomes quite black. The mold is then to be dipped 
into a saturated solution of sulphate of iron, when a layer of 
metallic silver will be formed, upon which a deposit of copper 
may be readily obtained. The mold should be rinsed when 
taken from the sulphate of iron solution, and connecting wire 
attached to it, when it may at once be placed in the depositing 
bath. Another method is as follows : Dissolve a piece of 
phosphorus in a small quantity of bisulphid of carbon. Stir 
in two drams of benzin and a drop or two of sulphuric ether ; 
pour the whole into half a pint of alcohol and wash the sur- 
face of the mold with this mixture twice, allowing it to dry 
after each application. The silver solution is made by dissolv- 
ing one dram twenty grains of nitrate of silver in a mixture of 
half a pint of alcohol and one dram of acetic acid. The mold 
is floated once with this solution and allowed to dry spon- 
taneously. Another and simpler method of rendering the 
mold conductive is described as follows : Dissolve phosphorus 
in pure alcohol until a strong solution is obtained, and wash 
the mold with this mixture. The silver solution is prepared 
by dissolving nitrate of silver in ammonia to saturation. It 
is to be poured evenly over the mold and allowed to float over 
it for a few minutes. The solution is then poured off and 
the mold allowed to become partly dry, when the operation is 


repeated. Spots which do not appear to take the solution 
readily should be wetted with it by means of a soft brush. 

WAX SHAVERS, VALUE OF.— Most large electrotype 
foundries are equipped with wax-shaving machines. They are 
chiefly valuable when used in connection with power molding 
presses which are provided with indicators to register the 
depth of impression. The shaved case being of uniform thick- 
ness, and the proper depth of impression having been estab- 
lished and noted on the indicator, the operator may thereafter 
be guided entirely by the indicator, for, if the press is stopped 
each time at the same reading, the impressions will obviously 
be all of the same depth. A shaved case is also preferable, 
because the " skin " is thereby removed from the case, and, 
with it, all dust or dirt which may have collected thereon, or 
which, being in the wax, may have risen to the surface when 
poured in the case. 

WOODCUTS, TO PRESERVE.— If wood is wet, oil can 
not enter it ; if wood is oiled, water can not get in. As it is 
alternate cold or dampness and heat or dryness that swell and 
warp cuts and blocks, let every cut you care anything about 
be soaked in oil at the bottom — the place most affected — and 
the trouble will be overcome. You can then lay the cuts on 
cold stones or presses, or in moderately warm places, with 
little or no risk of injury. 

Wood engravings, when subject to changes of temperature or 
atmospheric conditions, sometimes check or crack. When it is 
desired to make an electrotype of such an engraving, the 
checks, if not too large, may be closed by covering them with 
strips of damp blotting paper and then applying a hot building 
iron to the paper until it is wholly or partially dry. When the 
check has been closed, the mold should be made at once, before 
it has time to open again. 


Acid, to ascertain percentage in solu- 
tion, i6i; effect of, on nickel bath, 
i6i; effect of acid in solution, i6i; 
hydrochloric, i6i; muriatic, i6i; 
sulphuric, i6i; soldering, 162; acid 
gauge, 58 

Adams, J. A., 8, 16 

Agitation of bath advisable, 51 ; bene- 
fits of, 162; methods of, 164 

Alkalinity and acidity, 165 

Alloy, fusible, 165 

Amalgamation of zinc, 165 

Ammeter, 60, 165 

Ammonia, 166 

Ampere, 166 

Air blast for blackleading, 86 

Albert, Doctor, 69 

Anchoring plates, 146, 166 

Anode, 166; connections, 167; hooks, 
167; plates, 167 

Antimony, 167 

Backer-up, the, 167; backing up 
press, 168 

Backing metal, 107 

Backing pan, 107 

Baths, constituents of, 35; size of 
depositing vat, 39; testing the 
solution, 40; steel, brass and nickel 
baths, 41, 44; brassing solution, 
43; management of bath, 46; holes 
in shells, 48; temperature of bath, 
48; cyanide, 49; agitation of bath, 
51; Englehard process, 52; Dun- 
ton method, 54; Leetham appa- 
ratus, 55 

Battery, Smee, 15, 20; strength of, 
18; scientific knowledge not essen- 
tial, 19; positive and negative 
plates, 20; positive and negative 
poles, 20; electrode, anode, cath- 
ode, volt, ampere, watt, 20; platin- 
izing, 22; care of battery, 24 

Beginning a job, 63 

Beveling machine, 134 

Black electrotypes, 174 

Blackleading, 16, 84, 168, 169 

Blister on shells, 169 

Blistered molds, 191 

Blocking, sectional and wood blocks, 
143; rotary planer, 145; anchor- 
ing and nailing, 146, 166; warp- 
ing, 147; dovetailing, 147 

Blowpipe, 138 

Blue vitriol, 35 

Body mold, 113 

Book plates, 135, 136; device for 
holding, 170 

Brass bath, 41, 44 

Brassplating, 170 

Brittle deposit, 171 

Bronzing solution, 171 

Brushes, cleaning, 173 

Building, wax knife and how to use 
it> 79 i how to use building iron, 
80; making electrical connection 
with mold, 8i 

Burning, 172 

Cases, warming of, 172; handling the 
case, 81; thickness of, 72. 

Casting, the furnace, 105; leveling 
stand, 1 06; backing pan, 107; com- 
position of backing metal, 107; 
preparing the shell for backing, 
108; flattening plates, no; electro- 
typer's press, no; casting hard 
shells, 172; mounting, 112; metal 
bases, 11.2; body mold, 113; cool- 
ing the cast, 114; saw table, 116 

Cathode, 172 

Circuit, 172 

Cleaning, brushes, 173; cuts, 173; 
electrotype casts, 173; plate ma- 
chine, 173 




Coating molds, 191; coating of cop- 
per, preliminary, 90 

Coloring electrotype medallions, 174 

Color plates, registering, 174 

Combination blacklcading machine, 87 

Composition, molding, 67 

Concave, 174 

Conductors, quantity of current, 95; 
size of rods, 96; importance of 
good connections, 97 

Conductivity, 175; of mold, 90, 91, 
92; of solution, 202 

Connections, 175; importance of good 
connections, 97 

Copper, dissolved by solution, 176; 
scraps utilized, 176; to separate 
copper from water, 176; weight of 
copper, 177; how to assay copper 
solution, 203; copper sulphate, 35; 
copper vat, 38 

Coppering foliage and plants, 92 

Corrections, see Rezising 

Corrosion of copper-faced type, 177; 
to prevent corrosion, 177 

Coulomb, 178 

Cost of shells, 177 

Crocus, 178 

Current, high tension, 178; strength, 
178; measuring, 178; restricting 
action of, 89 

Curved electrotypes, casting, 179; ex- 
pansion of curved plates, 179 

Cutters, 130 

Cyanide of potassium, 49 

Davis, Daniel, 10, 13 

Davis' Manual of Magnetism, 13 

Deposition, rate of, 28, 180; econom- 
ical deposition, 180 

Deposit, cost per foot, 25 

Depositing, vat, 38, 39; striking the 
mold, 99; holes in shell, 48, 100; 
causes of imperfections, loi; time 
required to deposit, 102 

Discovery of electrotyping, 7, 8 

Doctor Albert process, 69 

Dovetailing, 147 

Dunton's hot box, 186 

Dunton method, 54 

Durability of electrotype plates, 180 

Dynamo, choosing a, 30, 180; superior 
to battery, 25 ; capacity of, '27; con- 
nections, 28; rate of deposition, 28, 
29; care of, 33; current for nickel- 
facing, 34 

Electrical connections with molds, 82 
Electrical terms, meaning of, 20 
Electromotive force, 181 
Electrotyping in America, 181 
Elkington & Company, 8 
Englehard process, 52 

Filtner, William, 8, :6 

Finishing, tools required, 119; rough 
finishing, 119; low spots in plate, 
122; straightening, 123; finishing 
half-tones, 181, 182; standard thick- 
ness of plate, 123; shaving machine, 

Forms, preparation of, 64 

Furnace, 105 

Glass rails for vats, 207; Silvering 

solution for glass, 202 
Goose-bill, see Cutters 
Graphite in metallizing, 83 
Gutta-percha molds, 182 

Hard shells, casting, 172 

Half-tones, and electrotypes, 184; in- 
serted in electrotype plates, 184; 
molding of, 185 

Holes in shells, 48, 100, 185 

Horse-power, 186 

Hot box, Dunton's, 186 

Hot solution, remedy for, 204 

Hydrometer, 58 

Impression, depth of, 71, 72; taking 
the impression, 74 

Instruments, measuring, 58, 188; acid 
gauge, 58; voltmeter and amme- 
ter, 60; switchboard, 61 

Inventions in electrotyping, 187 

Iron, deposition of, 187 

Irregular shaped objects, electrotyp- 
ing of, 90 

Jacobi, Professor, 7 
Jordan, C. J., 7 

Knight, Silas P., 16, 86 

Leetham apparatus, 55 

Leveling stand, 106; leveling, 187 

Line gauge, 137 

Lineholder, 129 

Litmus paper, 188 

Low spots in plate, how to detect, 122 

Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic 
Association, 1 1 

Measuring instruments, see Instru- 

Medallions, coloring, 174 

Melting point of metals, 188 

Metal bases, 112; metal molds. Dr. 
Albert's, 150; electrotype metal, 
188; capacity of metal pots, 189; 
specific gravity of metals, 189 

Metallizing, use of graphite, 83 ; black- 
leading, 84; wet process, 86; air 
blast, 86; restricting action of cur- 
rent, 89; preliminary coating of 



copper, 90; irregular shaped ob- 
jects, 91; conductivity of mold, 
90, 91, 92; coppering flowers and 
leaves, 92 

Molding, press, 71, 75, 76, 190; im- 
provements in, 16; composition, 67, 
189, 190; blistered molds, 191; 
metallizing molds, 209; striking the 
mold, 99; gutta-percha molds, 182; 
Dr. Albert process, 69; preparation 
of mold, 69, 70; cooling cases, 70; 
depth of impression, 72; even 
thickness of cases, 72; warming 
cases, 73 ; wax kettle and table, 73 ; 
taking the impression, 74 

Molding wax, to soften, 191 

Mounting, 112, 146 

Murray, Joseph, 9 

New method of making electrotypes, 

Nickel-facing, 34, 192 
Nickel electrotypes, 191 
Nickel solution, 193 
Nickeltypes, 194 
Nickel bath, 41 

Ozo compound, 196 

Ozokerite, 67; to soften or harden, 196 

Patina, imitation of, 196 

Peeling, to prevent, 197 

Pinholes, 197 

Planer, rotary, for blocks, 145 

Plants and flowers, coppering, 92 

Plates, apparatus for flattening, 1 10 

Plating without a battery, 197 

Platinizing, 21 

Postage stamp plates, 198 

Preparation of work, 63 ; shaving and 
underlaying cuts, 64; wood cuts, 
64; forms to have bearers, 65 

Press, electrotyper's, no 

Punches, revising, 138 

Rapid electrotyping, 198 

Reference list of terms, etc., 161 

Resistance, 198; resistance board, 61, 

Reverse electrotyping, 199 

Revising, tools, 136; revising stick, 
'37; punch, 138; line gauge, 1^7; 
blowpipe, 138; method of inserting 
corrections, 138, 139, 140; brass 
standards, 140; type high stand- 
ards, 142 

Rough finishing, 119 

Router, 131 

Routing, see Trimming and Routing 

Salary, foreman's, 182 

Sawing, etc., 115, 118 

Saws, care of, 199 

Sectional blocks, 143 

Series, electrotyping in, 200 

Shaving machines, 123 

Shavers, wax, 210 

Shell, preparing for backing, 108; 
holes in, 48, 100, 185; time re- 
quired to deposit, 102; washing 
shells, 207; wrinkles in, 208; cost 
of shells, 177 

Shootboard, 127 

Silver electrotyping, 201 

Silvering solution for glass, 202 

Sink, 104 

Smee battery, 15, 21 

Solution, hot, remedy for, 204; sil- 
vering, for glass, 202; specific 
gravity of, 205; how to assay cop- 
per solution, 203; conductivity of 
solution, 202; testing the solution, 

Specific gravity, of solutions, 205; 
how to find, 59 

Spencer, Thomas, 7 

Standards, brass, 140 

Statistics, 205 

Steel bath, 41 

Stick, revising, 137 

Sulphuric acid, 35, 161 

Sweating, 206 

Switchboard, 61 

Temperature of bath, 48 

Thickness of plate, 123 

Three-color blocks, electrotypes of, 

Tools for finishing, 119; revising, 136 

Trimming and routing, 127; shoot- 
board, 127; the lineholder, 129; 
cutters, 130; the router, 131; book 
plates, 134; beveling machine, 134 

Type high standards, 142 

Vats, glass rails for, 207 
Verdigris, to remove, 207 
Voltmeter and ammeter, 60, 165 

Warping blocks, 147 

Washing shells, 207 

Watt, 208 

Wax shavers, 210; wax kettles, 73, 

209; wax molds, metallizing, 200; 

wax engraving, 208; wax knife, its 

use, 79; wax table, 73 
Wet process of blackleading, 86 
Wilcox, J. W., 10 
Woodcuts, 64; to preserve, 210 
Wrinkles in shells, 208 


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